Marketing Matters: Tomato Wisdom And Other Miscellaneous Musings

Marketing Matters: Tomato Wisdom And Other Miscellaneous Musings

Half way through one of my radio commentaries, the host told me he’d love to hear about some of my dreams. Maybe you too will be amused by some of my musings.

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● Targeting sophisticated customers

Thinking of my previous discussions on image, when I first encountered the Dove For Men line of personal hygiene products, I wondered why the folks making Dove products hadn’t chosen a more masculine name, like Hawk.

Building on the success and reputation that Dove already has among women and among the “51% of men already using women’s skin care products…,” Kathy O’Brien, Unilever’s vice president and general manager for skin care products in the U.S., indicated “men are becoming more sophisticated in their grooming desires.”

Really? So who was serving on their product packaging focus group that picked the colors for Dove for Men? Dove products come in simple pure white packages, true to their namesake. On the other hand, a dove that is grey with blue, pink, and white markings usually conjures images of another bird, and not one that is often associated with “clean”!

● Pros, Cons Of Social Media Marketing

Most of the presentations you’ll hear about social marketing talk about how easy it is for you to start blogging to get your story out to potential customers. It’s true, but if you think about it, isn’t that a lot like a restauranteur or movie producer writing their own reviews for the local paper?

Wouldn’t it be a more credible story if food bloggers who have nothing to do with your business write about you and spread the word to their thousands of followers? In addition to the traditional media types you might contact about a news event, consider inviting a blogger to your farm to help you tell your story. An Internet search for food/farm/travel blogs about your town/state will turn up a surprising list that you can add to your mailing or Email list.

● Tomato Wisdom

Getting your story to go viral is a great thing, as long as you don’t lose your identity and ownership of the story in the process. My daughter forwarded this quote that had shown up on one of her social media sites: “Knowledge is knowing the tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting [them] in your fruit salad.”

She couldn’t tell me who said it, but I couldn’t believe it was just a random statement. It wasn’t too hard to find when I Googled “tomato wisdom,” except that if I had quit looking after the first few listings, I would have had to give it to “unknown.” Luckily, I noticed a little farther down the page a name in the heading: the late humor columnist, Miles Kington.

The point, though, is that this quote is being passed around the Internet, near the lead in some of the sites polling about favorite quotes, yet it’s listed as “author unknown” on many of them. That’s not going to sell any of Mr. Kington’s books!

● Social Proofing: Follow the Crowd?

If the parking lot is crowded, the restaurant must have good food, right? Social proofing is applying the same logic to social media marketing. A blogger with hundreds of followers is likely to be a more credible source than one who has only attracted a couple dozen followers.

Makes sense, but alas, life is never so simple. Here’s an example. Recently my wife and I went to the New Jersey Cranberry Festival and noticed all the long lines for every food vendor. If we had believed the social proof exhibited there, we would have missed out on the most delicious grilled shrimp and scallop kabobs. Apparently there’s a qualitative factor to social proofing that may be a little harder to determine online, but my wife astutely observed that you might want to take a look at who is standing in those lines before joining them.