Understanding our customer base
Posted: January 10, 2013
One significant task for all direct-to-consumer farm marketers is constant surveying for how your customers’ needs are being met. Additionally, I often look to industry surveys to give me some market information beyond my farm gate.
George Latella, professor in St Joseph’s University, Executive Food Marketing program has shared his extensive insight into the minds, and actions of our customer. According to George, the Top Trends in Food Retail for 2013 are:
1. New, better nutritional & dietary guidelines
2. “All Natural” claims are out
3. Enhanced retail customer service
4. New mobile restaurant applications will speed things up
5. Vitamin D will make a comeback, as will milk
6. Smaller food stores will win; larger ones will lose out
7. More thoughtful product introductions
8. Less focus on local, more on heritage
9. Social responsibility will be more show
I see a couple trends above that lean right into what many farm marketers are doing. Concepts build around nutrition, diet, delightful customer service, and social responsibility are words I read in many local farm mission statements. As we plan to actively capture more food dollars, and understanding where consumers may be headed - the Key Marketing
Questions we need to answer for our business are:
• Who you are . . .
• What you do . . .
• How you are different . . .
• What problem you solve for the Customer . . .
When we have a firm grasp of our responses to the above, we are well prepared to enhance our marketing message and build great customer experiences. Perhaps the PA Start Farming section on “marketing” http://extension.psu.edu/start-farming/marketing has information you will find relevant for customer behaviors affecting your business planning.
Also, be sure to check the below sources for additional information on retail food buying trends:
The Food Marketing Institute
University of Illinois, Ag Marketing Resource Center
Exploring the many wants of our current customers coupled with an understanding of the wants of potential customers equips us with the knowledge to build a more extensive and typically lucrative base of business partners - both suppliers and customers.
- Ag Marketing Educator