I was fortunate enough to moderate the “Marketing Your Market” session during the conference, where we hosted three leading market representatives in the US. Each panelist provided a very unique perspective on marketing and creative ways to bring people to their markets.
Anna Curtin, Education and Events Manager for the Portland Farmers Market provided examples of the many audiences she markets to, including both vendors and shoppers. Staff use the PFM website as a major tool in getting the word out to local shoppers, through features such as interactive market maps and an online learning center. This outreach helps shoppers feel like stakeholders at each market.
Chris Curtis, Director of the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance in Seattle, spoke of an innovative campaign to reach out to the “second-tier shopper,” those whose shopping concerns center more toward affordability and accessibility versus supporting local economy and sustainability. The Alliance assembled statistics on shoppers and farmers, revamped their newsletter and worked with local officials to develop messaging to this audience.
Gail Hayden, Executive Director of the California Farmers Market Association, provided concrete tricks and tools for bringing people to the market. My favorite? Focus on the fresh fruits and veggies that taste the best fresh from the farm (as opposed to at the supermarket). (To me, this was simple yet brilliant. Peronally, I LIVE for home-grown tomatoes every year.) She also included strawberries, corn and melons as examples of produce that drive people to buy fresh, local products.
These market professionals provided a wide array of tools for reaching many different audiences. Have you implemented any of their suggestions yet? If so, how were the results?