Awards case study: How Tate & Lyle Sugars achieved ROI of 183% on its campaign to reach decision-makers with its new range of beverage syrups | B2B Marketing

Discover how the food manufacturer got its new range of syrups in front of a hard-to-reach target audience and achieved a 250% uplift in sales thanks to an innovative DM campaign


Where has the element of surprise and creativity gone in today’s B2B landscape? How many times does something land on your desk that surprises you, delights you, challenges your mindset and forces you tell your colleagues, family and friends?

When targeting a notoriously hard to reach audience that everyone wants to talk to, suppliers often fall into the trap of approaching with lazy, uninspiring and formulaic mechanics that simply end up in the bin.

Tate & Lyle Sugars (T&L) was determined to create an unexpected and creative approach that would break target consciousness and drive behaviour change. This lead generation and conversion campaign demonstrates an integrated campaign approach, combining ‘old school’ techniques, new technologies and social media, all to great effect.

By surrounding the key stakeholder targets with relevant messages across a range of impactful media, Foodsmiths Marketing helped Tate & Lyle Sugars position its new range of Fairtrade beverage syrups and open the doors to the largest UK coffee chains, quick service restaurants and European coffee roasters.

From a campaign spend of just £33,000, it achieved:

  • 61% lead generation
  • +250% sales uplift
  • 183% campaign ROI.

The campaign is still underway with an exciting pipeline set for further exponential growth.


Tate & Lyle Sugars is part of the ASR Group, producing sugar, syrups and sauces in almost all formats and flavours imaginable. The ASR Group refines more cane sugar than any other company in the world, sourcing from over 40 countries, with 11 refineries across three continents, and is a leading supporter of Fairtrade.


While T&L offer sugar in countless formats, it’s always looking for the latest innovations to extend its offering and grow as a category leader. Part of this ambition is the creation of beverage syrups for the out of home foodservice market.

In October 2014, T&L launched a small range of Fairtrade beverage syrups into the UK foodservice market, with moderate success.

Having received positive feedback, T&L decided to increase resources behind the new portfolio and target high volume opportunities within the largest UK coffee chains, quick service restaurants and European coffee roasters.

With the confidence of an on-trend quality range and the differentiating ability to boast Fairtrade certification across the entire range, the challenge was not the product, it was putting the product in front of the right stakeholders and influencing them to switch. At a time when transparency and ethical credentials are so high on the agenda of every operator when choosing suppliers, the solution was fit for purpose. But in a hugely cluttered and competitive market with four well-established brand leaders and seemingly little difference between the brands, the challenge was big.

Objectives of the campaign

T&L wanted a compelling lead generation and conversion campaign that targeted key decision-makers and delivered the following messages:

  1. T&L beverage syrups have a superior taste profile when compared with mainstream competitors.
  2. T&L is the only mainstream supplier of Fairtrade beverage syrups.
  3. T&L has historic expertise in syrup production as well as unique access to raw materials, allowing them to be incredibly competitive on price.

The commercial objectives were as follows:

  1. Generate leads within 30% of the 106 targeted prospect customers.
  2. Increase monthly run rate by 240% by the end of September 2017.

The target audience

The campaign was targeted at key decision-makers, including food and beverage buyers and procurement directors at the largest UK coffee chains, quick service restaurants and European coffee roasters. This is a highly protected and hard to reach audience that everyone wants to talk to, and who receive countless requests from a multitude of suppliers, every day. This is also a category that typically has long contract lengths and multiple decision makers, making it even harder to create engagement unless timing is on your side.

Media, channels or techniques used

So many suppliers approach with lazy, uninspiring and formulaic mechanics that simply end up in the bin. We were determined to create an approach that would surprise, delight, break our target’s consciousness and ultimately drive behaviour change.

Our campaign integrated ‘old school’ techniques, new technologies and social media to great effect. What do you open first when you get the post? Bank statement? Invoice? Trade press publication? Or a hand written, stamped addressed envelope? That was our first touchpoint. A handwritten, signed, stamped and addressed letter from the relevant T&L sales person, detailing that something exciting will be arriving in a couple of days and that we would love them to take a look.

As a follow-up to the letter, a brown box of product was never going to cut it. So, we sent each target a high value, premium T&L branded box, which included mini samples, a bespoke brochure, a business card, but most importantly, an auto-play high definition animated video that revealed the key benefits of the T&L beverage syrup range in an engaging and compelling way. This impactful method enabled us to deliver the key messages in an easy to digest video format, as well as provide samples for an all-important taste trial.

The video box was then followed by another handwritten letter, before the sales team telephoned the lead, fed it into their CRM system and continued the lead conversion process.

Once all boxes had been delivered, we then repurposed the video content, cutting it into bitesize pieces and seeding it in highly targeted and sponsored LinkedIn ads that sat on the target’s feed, and extended to their colleagues.

The integrated multi-channel campaign surrounded the targets across multiple touchpoints and only with relevant messaging.

Timescales of the campaign

May 2016: Foodsmiths pitch

June 2016: Foodsmiths appointed. Refine strategy, costs and timings. Target customer identification**

July-September 2016: Creative development. Video storyboard, shoot, post-production. Design and artwork of all collateral. Printing. Letter writing.

October 2016: First letters land. Boxes land. Second letter lands. T&L sales team follow-up. Sponsored LinkedIn advertising.

November 2016: Allegra European Coffee Symposium in Budapest – key meetings.


All costs below refer to the production of 150 letters and boxes.

Design, artwork, printing and fulfilment of letters: £2,015

Design, artwork and printing of brochures and business cards: £3,820

Video storyboard, shoot, post-production, voiceover, music and SFX: £10,340

Video box design, artwork and production: £8,990

Fulfilment and despatch: £2,265

LinkedIn content creation and sponsored advertising: £3,070

Strategic direction and account management: £3,070

Total: £33,570


Of the 106 targeted business, T&L’s sales team are now in active conversion with 65 (61%) – double the 30% target.

Projected monthly run rates show an uplift of +250% by September 2017 (exceeding the 240% target) and with a pipeline set for exponential growth.

Campaign ROI is currently sitting at 183%.

While a soft measure, the campaign received overwhelmingly positive feedback and proof that its impact forced recipients to pass onto their colleagues.

“In working with Foodsmiths we have created a truly compelling lead generation and conversion campaign that has caught the imagination of our notoriously hard to reach target audience. Not only has the campaign delivered incredible results so far, but it has set the foundation for exponential future growth”

Dan Smith, product manager, (EU), Tate & Lyle Sugars

B2B Marketing Awards 2017 – winners

This submission won the award for 

‘Best corporate-decision-maker-targeted campaign’

 at the B2B Marketing Awards 2017: ‘Crafted to complement’ for Tate & Lyle Sugars by Foodmsiths Marketing.

See the full list of winners

Related Articles

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on your website. Read more about cookies policy.