of food marketing
April 1, 2008 By Myron Love
If you want to sell your product,
you have to promote yourself. That’s the simple but straightforward
message from food processors Danny Kleinsasser and Lena Friesen.
If you want to sell your product, you have to promote yourself. That’s the simple but straightforward message from food processors Danny Kleinsasser and Lena Friesen.
Friesen has been processing and marketing wild blueberries under the Miinan Inc. banner for about 20 years. Of Cree/Ojibway descent, Friesen‘s family has been picking wild blueberries in the bush for almost a century. (Miinan means “wild blueberry” in Cree, she notes.)
Friesen makes jam, syrup, dressing and tea from the blueberries. She has positioned her company’s products as health foods for the organically-oriented consumer. She promotes Miinan’s products through farmers’ markets and in-store demonstrations.
“You need to get your product out there,” she says. “You need as much exposure as you can get.”
She also keeps a close eye on Miinan products’ sales in the stores.
While Danny Kleinsasser may be in the meat business rather than fruit and/or vegetable production, the lessons he has to impart are valuable for all fledgling food processors.
Kleinsasser is the founder of Danny’s Whole Hog Barbecue & Smokehouse. He produces a variety of smoked meats as well as “whole hog” barbecues for a wide variety of social events.
Kleinsasser has been working in the meat business for more than 25 years. He started Danny’s in 2002 and notes that business is growing. “We did 400 to 500 hogs the first year, 1,000 the second year and 1,500 last year,” he says.
“The first thing a new business needs is a logo. That’s essential.” His logo is a hog, standing on two feet, wearing a chef’s hat and red bib and holding a spatula under the company name.
Kleinsasser points out that you have to work at marketing constantly. That involves talking to customers and listening to what they have to say. “We do random surveys of customers, looking for ideas on how we can improve,” he says.
Then there is the need for targeted advertising. “We spent $10,000 in advertising in our first year in business and it paid us back tenfold. You need to get the word out when you are starting a new business. You need to be aggressive.”
His advertising includes business cards, brochures, aprons for his staff to wear, caps and pens, plus logos on his delivery vehicles and on highway signs. “Winnipeg is the hub,” says Kleinsasser, whose business is based in rural Manitoba. “There are 12 main roads leading in and out of the city. The question is, which are the best highways to advertise along in the summers. The answer is the two leading to the beaches.”
Kleinsasser recommends working through professional advertising firms. The firm he hired urged him to put
himself front and centre in his ads.
He also says one of his best investments is his online webpage – www.dannyswholehog.com.
“We keep a record of every phone call and try to determine where customers heard about us. We try to do something different every year. Our next step is to link up with other growers, perhaps a berry grower, and other organizations such as golf courses and baseball diamonds to further our business outreach.”
Kleinsasser says he doesn’t worry about the competition. “There’s enough business for all of us. The main things are to put out a good product and always be planning ahead.”
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