Marketing, management, and industry news for farm and food businesses from the Penn State Extension Ag Business Management team
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Brags and Blunders!
Often the conversation amongst direct-to-consumer farm
marketers can turn to “So, what are you doing that’s new and exciting?” I was
fortunate to be able to hear some new and exciting ideas recently.
As part of our recent Are
You Crazy? bus tour we had a brief session titled “brags and blunders.” The
purpose of this session is for everyone to have an opportunity for describing
the very best and/or the very worst marketing idea they ever implemented. This
session was a great way to learn from each other and get conversations going. I
relate here what I heard.
Yes, they buried that invisible pet fence in a maze
pattern and turned the kids loose. They did replace the buzzer with flashing
lights before they started. This project was discontinued after two years. The
kids had to crawl along the ground for the collars to sense the buried wire.
Burning Fire Truck
Who doesn’t like a fire truck? Well these folks wore a
big floppy foam fireperson hat and were driving around when the truck started
burning. Of course, the fire extinguisher had been removed recently, so every
one at the farm watched as the fire smoldered. Blunder!
Have you heard about Punkin’ Chunkin’ celebrations? The
one I am familiar with is in Delaware the week after Halloween. A bunch of
clever folks tinker up some mechanical devices for flinging pumpkins way down
the field. This marketer did the same thing, except after the season was over
they decided to see how far they could send a pumpkin. After fanfare and the
launch - they never did find the 1st piece of that flying fruit.
Ground Hog Pumpkins
I don’t know about your fields, but ours can be full of
ground hog living quarters. One year it seemed like most every pumpkin in this
one field had ground hog damage. A few bites here and a few bites there. These
folks told the touring elementary students to hunt up some of the “pumpkins
with the ground hog autographs”. Well, the teachers later heard from the
parents that if they were going to a farm could they at least find one that had
decent pumpkins. Blunder!
Many multi-generational farms experience family conflicts
from time to time. At this roadside stand the elders did not think much at all
about the new generation suggesting they start a peach smoothie enterprise.
“Too much trouble!” “Who would buy that?” You might imagine the conversations.
However, the younger folks persisted and today they can hardly keep up with
demand for their simple and healthful recipe. Brag!
Couple years ago when hail hit this farm they found
themselves with what seemed like thousands of hail damaged zucchini. They were
quite concerned if they would recover any of their production costs. Well, they
advertised “zucchini storm” in all sorts of variations and sold every last
fruit. Funny, but today they find it as difficult as you do to market perfectly
good zucchini. Brag!
All my kitchen
knives went to New York city
Many years back people were just beginning to build the NY
Green Market. This country family saw the market potential but had no
experience of actually being in the city. They had heard all the terrible news
on how dangerous NY could be. On their very first market day at a brand new
site they took every kitchen knife they owned as protection from whatever it
was they might find. Today, over 20 years later they can laugh at themselves.
They not only helped start the NY Green Markets movement – they continue to
enjoy the experience and benefit from their efforts. Brag!
Wouldn’t you know it! Just as the potted plants in the
greenhouse are ready to market an infestation of
eats all the leaves and makes the remaining sticks very unattractive. Not one
to let an opportunity pass, these folks decided to market the potted sticks as
“buy a butterfly”. They quickly sold every last plant they had, and to this day
still hear from customers what a wonderful time their families had raising
their own butterflies. Brag!
“When’s the baby
‘nough said. Blunder!
It goes to show – an excellent opportunity might be right
around the corner, or maybe not.