Invite the roadside operators to sell at the farmers market. They
may be surprised at how soon they attract a loyal band of farmers market
customers who will be curious and eager to come out to their roadside
markets. The next step may be to get together with neighboring roadside
market owners to do cooperative promotions to attract tourists or city folk
who may not want to drive 100 miles just to visit one farm market, but may
be eager to to so if there are enough farm attractions in the area to make
it a fun weekend outing for the family. Further group promotion activities
can include such things as cooperative advertising, local direct marketing
associations or farm trail maps, organizing tasting events to give food
buyers such as chefs and specialty brokers a taste of your produce; and
regional marketing associations.
It pays to promote with your fellow growers. Many growers feel they
are competing with their neighboring farmers. This is not necessarily true!
The more attractions in an area, the better to attract the crowds-more
brings more. The appearance of abundance and prosperity invites people to
come and partake of the bounty. This is why customers flock to shopping
malls where they may have not just one particular store to choose from, but
at least a dozen selections to choose from.
The Sonoma County Select organization in California, for example,
promotes local products under the "Sonoma County Select" label. Without a
strong local marketing group, apples imported from Washington were selling
for $1.19 a pound in supermarkets, while local apples were selling for six
pounds for a dollar. Sonoma County Farm Advisor Paul Vossen told Sonoma
County growers: "Local individual competitors are a drop in the bucket. Our
real competitors are not other Sonoma County apple growers, but the big
Washington State apple growers." Now several years later , thanks to Sonoma
County Select's cooperative marketing efforts, locally-grown sales have
started to soar.
In his recent book, "Guerrilla Marketing Excellence," J. Conrad
Levinson states that "The strategic alliance is your solution for the
1990's and beyond. Businesses that flourish will not be independent firms
or one-man-band enterprises. They'll be dependent firms that need one
another to prosper. Look for cooperative endeavors with suppliers,
competitors from your own area or distant areas, businesses with the same
audience, businesses in your community, huge national businesses, your
personnel. Success and growth will belong to teams and not to players.
Consider everyone you deal with on a business basis as your partner, as a
potential ally for a strategic alliance."
Eric Gibson/ New World Publishing/ 3085 Sheridan St./ Placerville, CA
95667/ (916) 622-2248/ email: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Sell What You Sow! The Grower's Guide To Successful Produce Marketing"
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