Friday, June 26, 2015

Internet Tools to Help You Learn About New Markets, Part 3

By Dr Kathy Kelley, Professor of Horticultural Marketing and Business Management, and Dana Ollendyke, Extension Associate

In our previous post, we discussed using the US Census Bureau website to obtain demographic data for your specific target market location.  Unfortunately, the U.S. Census data can be overwhelming to search through (we admit that it took us a while to find, figure out how to develop the tables, and make changes), so you may want to access other tools that make the Census data more “user friendly.” Easy Analytic Software Inc (EASI) is an example of one of the tools that we often use to obtain consumer demographic information. EASI provides both paid and free options that allow users to more easily search Census data (instructions for navigating to the free tools can be found here).

Image 1 shows how we created a “Free Complete Report & Analysis.” There are many report options (like population by ethnic race, age, sex, etc.) and this one will give you more information that you may need, but you’ll see in Image 2 that it provides a nice breakdown of population by country of origin. We often use the EASI Ring Study as it provides data based on radiuses you select (we used 10, 30, and 50 miles) from an address you provide (we used a Harrisburg, PA address for this example).
Image 1. Criteria used (address and three radiuses) to create a Free Complete Report & Analysis. Click the “Locate!” button after you enter the address in box 1. Then click “Create Site Study” to access the data you requested.

Image 2. Data at the top of this report provides descriptive statistics of the population density, population, and households by year (including projected growth) within 10, 30, and 50 miles from the address used. The comprehensive report also provides population data of those who were of Asian Indian, Bangladeshi, Cambodian, etc. ancestry and who resided within the three radiuses (Image 3).

Image 3. Continuation of report in Image 2.  Population data of those who were of Asian Indian, Bangladeshi, Cambodian, etc. ancestry and who resided within the three radiuses.

These are just a few examples of the many reports EASI can generate for you.  Check out the website to see more detailed demographic information.  Our next tool for learning about new markets is the Geographic Informations Systems (GIS) tool offered by the SBDC which will be discussed in the next post.

Monday, June 8, 2015

You are what you eat and so is your community. Do you have access to nutritious local foods?

Internet Tools to Help You Learn About New Markets, Part 2

By Dr Kathy Kelley, Professor of Horticultural Marketing and Business Management, and Dana Ollendyke, Extension Associate

In our previous post, we discussed exploring new ways to market your products. We listed 3 of our favorite internet tools:
  • The US Census Bureau website.
  • Easy Analytic Software Inc (EASI) Demographics tool.
  • Small Business Development Center's Geographic Information Systems (GIS) reports.

In this post, we will focus on The US Census Bureau website. Census data is presented in multiple ways including:
  • infographics (an example is presented in Image 1, below).
  • interactive maps.
  • audio.
  • photos.
  • publications.
  • video.
  • working papers.
  • software.
Image 1. Infographic displaying the changes in the number of foreign-born residents in the U.S. (1960 to 2010) and their native countries (Source: U.S. Census Bureau).

For this series, we will continue to use wine as our example.

Imagine that you read an article about which alcoholic beverages pair well with authentic Chinese food and you learned that Rieslings are a good choice since “they go well with Chinese cuisine because the mouth-feel is quite refreshing…the range of dry to sweet Rieslings can match all types of Chinese food, plus it’s never too heavy, but rather fresh and fruity.” Now you begin to think about:
  1. how you could inform current customers that your wines pair well with this popular cuisine (this article provides wine pairing recommendations for “Americanized Chinese” takeout – which also suggests Riesling as being an appropriate choice) and 
  2. how you could promote your Riesling to the Chinese consumers who may live in your region.
One of the first things you want to do for #2 is to learn whether there is a population of Chinese consumers in your county or metro area (and city if the population is large enough) and how many are ages 21 and older. For this example, we used the State College, PA metropolitan area as the location for learning about the existence and number of adults who responded during the 2010 Census that they were “Chinese (except Taiwanese) alone or in any combination.”

The tool we are demonstrating also allows us to search for data for “Chinese alone or in any combination” (which would include Taiwanese) and “Taiwanese alone or in any combination.” Hence, you can get fairly specific with your data requests. (The “alone or in any combination” means that the data describes those who indicated on their Census form that they were only Chinese as well as Chinese consumers who indicated that they were also of another race/ethnicity).

The abbreviated table below provides the following information: Total Chinese population (3,360 individuals in the State College, PA metropolitan area), as well as a breakdown by age range (e.g. 68.1% of these individuals were 21 and older in 2010), and the number of males who were between the ages of 20 and 24 (524 or 15.6% of the total population of Chinese).

Image 2. A portion of a table that describes the total population of Chinese (except Taiwanese) and breakdown by age range and other characteristics based on the 2010 U.S. Census.

There are many ways to build tables like the one presented for this demonstration. We simply used “metro/micro statistical area within state” and “Race and Hispanic Origin” as our search criteria and then selected the “DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010” (Image 3).

Image 3. Search fields and options available to create tables like that in Image 2 (From the US Census Bureau website).

One caveat is that data is only available if more than 100 individuals are in the group you are investigating. For example, with the State College metropolitan area being less populated than other metro areas in the state, there were not enough “Argentinians,” “Nicaraguans,” or others from select South American countries to create tables (though we were able to learn that at the time of the 2010 Census, there were 651 “South Americans” residing in the metro area). In contrast, data for the much larger metropolitan Philadelphia area showed that there were 2,336 Argentinians residing in this location. If there is a large population of Argentinians in your area and you want to promote a wine that will pair well with traditional “pork dishes and rich, winter-warming meat stews” then you would focus on your Cabernet Sauvignon (

As you can see, the US Census Bureau website can provide a tremendous amount of demographic data for your specific target market location. Our next tool for learning about new markets is the Easy Analytic Software Inc (EASI) Demographics tool which will be discussed in the next post.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Reinventing the Public Market

Reinventing the Public Market
Concepcio Market
In March of 2015, the Project for Public Spaces held their international conference on pubic markets in Barcelona, Spain, one of the foremost capitals for public markets in the world. There are 40 markets in Barcelona attracting 62 million visits annually with an economic activity equivalent to 950 million euros.

However, Barcelona’s market scene was not always so bustling.  Inadequate commercial real estate, declining customers, and poor investments lead to a deterioration of market buildings and the market economy by the end of the 1980’s. In the early 1990’s, city council decided to reinvest in their city’s markets and renovate multiple locations. In 1992, the Barcelona Institute of Municipal markets (IMMB) was founded with a goal of local commerce as an economic driver to revitalize the markets and create jobs.

Working with local authorities and retailers, IMMB put together a strategic plan that set a goal for 2025 that will integrate the markets into their neighborhoods, becoming social assets and creating positive experiences for shopping and leisure with the foundation of the plan being “renovation, adaptation, innovation and promotion.”

Public-private partnership is key in the renaissance of these markets, but what else can we take from the success of Barcelona’s markets?  Pennsylvania is poised to adapt our public markets in a way that could make them a center piece for economic development to create jobs, support the development of entrepreneurial enterprises and sustain existing businesses.  

Both Barcelona and Pennsylvania have market structures dating back into the 19th century. Both are made of a mix of diverse products. Both create a public space where local residents can interact.

Many midsize cities and towns in Pennsylvania have a public market of some kind and Pennsylvania ranks third in the nation in direct to consumer market sales.  In addition, the local food movement has led to an explosion of farmers markets and value-added, artisan food producers in our state. However, many of our public markets have not enjoyed the same success.

Perhaps our markets can also thrive and remain relevant in our communities if we borrow a few founding principles that Barcelona used to revitalize their market economy. 

What are some basic steps that can be taken to improve the appearance of our markets? Is the exterior inviting us to step inside the market? Are windows clean? Do we need to upgrade or have more modern conveniences? Do we have Wi-Fi, benches or seating? If people are comfortable enough to stay awhile, they usually spend more money. Is there easy access for everyone? Is there parking?  We want to have an inviting, functional and attractive market space for both retailers and customers.

Markets should reflect the needs of the communities they serve. What are the demographics of the community where your market is located? Is the vendor makeup and product offering reflective what the neighborhood would like to purchase? Is the community mostly young or seniors? What is the average household income?

More and more consumers want to know where their food is coming from and how it was produced. Can our vendors offer and promote that information?

To keep our markets thriving and relevant we may need to attract the next generation of customers and they are the “millennials”. Millennials want “authentic” products. They also want an “experience” and a story behind their purchase. What experiences can we offer as a market place that will keep them (and others) coming back to the market as a destination for the community?

We have so many ways to promote our markets that it can be challenging and feel a bit over whelming but if we understand who our customers are then we can target them directly using the media they consume. If the communities we are trying to attract are younger, then placing ads in print media might not be the best use of our advertising dollar since the majority of  younger consumers are using social media as their primary media for gathering information. Think about where the market is promoted, what is the demographic we are trying to attract, and do we think that our marketing efforts will reach them.  

Market managers who presented at the conference in Barcelona had some specific recommendations for keeping your market thriving and relevant.
  1. Develop a set of core values.  Example:
    1. Uniqueness
    2. Quality
    3. Diversity
    4. History
    5. inspiration
  2. Know the demographics.
    1. Age
    2. Gender
    3. Ethnicity
    4. Shopping trends
  3. Develop a whole market experience
    1. Quality products
    2. Exciting place to visit
    3. Create a market identity
    4. Offer options
Following these principals can help 19th century markets be relevant and vibrant 21st century markets.

Brian Moyer
Program Assistant
Penn State Extension
Lehigh County

Carla Snyder
Penn State Extension
Adams County