Our team identified that women between the ages of 25 and 40 who are responsible for grocery shopping are our target audience. We worked with the Extension Foundation’s marketing wraparound services to analyze that audience and our marketing initiatives to increase our effectiveness. KJM Digital completed an audit of our digital marketing and website presence of our GMO resources (website, social media) from January 1, 2020, through November 30, 2020. The audit found that we had 1,090,147 impressions on social media in the cross-network performance summary. However, our engagements were 78,165, and our post link clicks were 8,186, showing areas where we could improve. A review of the demographics of digital audiences showed that our core audience is the same as the demographic identified by our team for this project.
The audit findings were used to analyze our audience and determine where improvements could be made. Key recommendations from the digital audit were the following:
Use a call to action to create more user-generated content.
Develop user-generated content campaigns.
Maximize engagement by adhering to posting recommendations.
Start a digital “ GMO awareness ” campaign.
Develop key partnerships with fellow Extension programs.
Create transparent campaign messages.
We used these findings to develop the resources page for this project, edit and refine our gmo.uconn.edu website, and build a social media campaign with our GMO content. Findings also guided the deployment and marketing strategies for our NTAE project.
E X T E N S I ON R E S E A R CH
With the audience and marketing analysis from KJM in hand, it was time to talk to our Extension col leagues to get their feedback on consumers’ understanding of food labels and gamification in Extension programs. In November 2020, we hosted a chat — which has been archived — on the Connect Extension site. We had 63 participants from across the country, including representatives from the USDA, FDA, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Chat participants agreed that consumers are confused by and have biases our three food labels and that the lack of regulations adds to the confusion. We talked about how interactive, game-based learning would be a powerful and fun way to teach young people and adults about these labels. We discussed how to connect with the participant s’ Extension program audiences (primarily low-income urban residents, many of whom are 4-H and EFNEP participants). And we came away from the chat with strategies for creating effective educational games.
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