Not long ago I stumbled on a little farm stand which is extremely well known here in the south. It’s not exactly a farm stand - more like a farm “boutique store” full of locally sourced meat, produce and their very famous tomato pies. I had heard great things about this farm stand. People would drive for 50 or more miles just to buy their home-made pies. So when I finally made it through their front door, I had high expectations. Boy was I wrong. I could barely get through the front door due to all the “stuff” that was crammed inside the store. Between 7 ft high book shelves, piles of knick knacks and rows of freezers, the place reminded me much more of a garage sale meets appliance clearance store. It was overwhelming.
The owner’s voice cheerily rang out over the chaos “let me know if I can help you find anything”. I definitely needed some help finding grass fed beef. She expertly weaved her way through the clutter, opened one of the freezer doors and pointed happily to the extensive selection of grass fed beef. “Where y’all from?” she asked before retiring to her rocking chair, her blonde braids bobbing up and down as she swung backwards and forwards… “you just have to try this tomato pie, it’s on the house”.
We got to talking and it turns out that this little farm stand was about to get a major overhaul. They had outgrown the space and were moving into a gorgeous custom built building with a commercial kitchen, cafe and of course her “farm stand”. In two years they had outgrown their current space. She was overwhelmed and had no idea had to upscale their existing operation. It was clear her love was serving customers and knowing each of her suppliers down to the minutest detail. What she knew she was out of her depth on was the marketing side of things - creating an inviting retail space that is conducive to people whipping their wallets out, rather than feeling dazed and confused as I had. She had no website and had never run an ad in her life. But outside her farm stand were at least 20 different hand painted signs that advertised all she sold. Despite her lack of marketing this woman was to be heartily congratulated - she had built a very successful business. The only thing was now she was going to have to pivot - to upscale her operations with no idea how to go about it.
Breaking things down into their simplest form, I gave her a quick run-down of the Client Stampede Marketing Formula
1) Find your target market
2) Craft a message that resonates with your target market, speaks to them on their own terms and cuts through the noise of annoying advertising
3) Create an iconic BRAND for your business - this is far more than a logo or visual identity and extends right through to the customer experience. It’s a living breathing thing that is always evolving. Think of Apple. You have the same impression of the company whether you’re opening your new iPhone ir walking into one of their stores. The key to creating an iconic brand is to ensure that no matter how someone interacts with your business - whether its’s online, or speaking to you on the phone or walking through your store, or buying a tomato pie - the experience is consistent with your brand values.
4) Package up your products and services in creative ways that meet the needs of your target market (this helps to avoid price comparison shopping)
5) Create sales ascension with your pricing - make it easy for a customer to give you the first dollar, and have creative ways for them to invest at higher levels on a regular basis (think weekly home shopping service instead of just buying a single pie).
6) Create your marketing toolbox and get your message out there! These are all the things people typically leap straight into when they think of advertising a business - but if you haven’t done your homework on steps 1-5 then you’re playing blind archery with your marketing budget.
7) Create an extraordinary customer experience. This step the farm stand had nailed down. My first trip in I got given a complimentary tomato pie. Not a tiny pie - a full size pie. Guess what one of their best selling items are? Yes you guessed it - tomato pie.
Marketing a business does feel completely overwhelming. Whether you’re marketing a farm stand or a $100 million tech company - the core principles of HOW to market your business are the same. What differs - is the execution!