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Recently I was asked some very intriguing questions. Whose responsibility is it to market to the end consumer? Should growers share that responsibility? I had never thought of it like that before, marketing as a responsibility. Then I started to think. Who really should be marketing a product to the end consumer? At the end of it all I really couldn’t pin that responsibility on one person. I don’t think that all of the marketing responsibility should ever rest on one person or on the shoulders of on business or on one leg of the industry. This ties itself to the old saying about putting all of your eggs in one basket. However, that leads to another question. If every part of the industry has some role to play in the overall marketing scheme, who should take on which tasks?
One of the biggest questions marketing departments in any business or industry come across is how much do they invest in the marketing of a product to the end consumer? How much is better left to the retailer? Is there a definite strategy out there? I really don’t think so, but I think it’s really about taking a look at what your organization can do and can do best.
For the horticulture industry for instance it wouldn’t make sense for large growers to spend a ton of money advertising new plants in local papers all over a region. Something like that is better left to a retailer. They understand their customer (hopefully). They know how to market to the end consumer in their area, or at least know how to reach them. In my opinion the grower’s part of marketing to the end consumer is to make knowledge about the product easily obtainable for the retailer. This way when consumers have questions, retailers have the answers or can get those answers quicker because there are methods in place to obtain such information from the larger growers.
On a larger level, with things such as brands, companies market to consumers in a different way. They try to encapsulate a large amount of consumers and spread messages about the products nationally or globally. The goal is to raise awareness and get people excited about looking for something in their local retailer. Brands also create a sense of community. It is actually interesting to think that consumers all over the country grow some of the same brands of plants. The marketing that brands do is really a service to their customer. It’s like saying “All you have to do is grow it, we handle the consumer demand”. However is that to say that retailers shouldn’t have marketing strategies for branded products? They absolutely should!
Brands and nationwide marketing strategies are great because they can do wonderful things with content and create media that can be accessed globally, but I firmly believe that no one should know a customer better than a local business. They interact with consumers on a personal level every single day.
When it comes down to it effective marketing for this industry or any other for that matter depends on every piece of the puzzle. Every type of business has a role to play whether that is creating national awareness and loyalty (brands), holding a wealth of knowledge (growers), or having the ability to run local specials (retailers) everyone plays a role in marketing in some way to the end consumer.
I also just wanted to give a shout out to Sara Tambascio (Twitter: @Sara_GG_TGC) for proposing the question stated above.