Sales & Marketing

How a radish can save your business

4 min read

30 October 2014

Radishes are weird things. They're red spicy blobs of white flesh that don’t really go with anything. And no one’s ever said “I could murder a radish”. Which is why radish growers need brilliant marketing to get shoppers to keep splurging.

In fact, the same is true for most of the food industry. From broccoli to pomegranate, food marketing is a huge business… and jawdroppingly effective. A small campaign by asparagus growers boosted sales five fold in the UK. 

What can you learn from the radish growers (and other food marketers) of Britain?

Pool your marketing

Radishes are too niche for individual growers to market alone, so they club together. Promotions are collectively funded. The result is LoveRadish.co.uk, a collection of recipes, nutritional facts, growing tips and other radishtastic tidbits. Mushroom sellers, cheesemakers and broccoli growers do the same thing. 

Lesson: Pooling resources with rivals can multiply your reach.

Find a killer USP

Pomegranate juice was almost unmarketable. Then pomegranate importers realised they were focusing on the wrong things such as novelty, taste, etc. The USP they needed was health claims. US brand POM Wonderful started highlighting the medicinal properties of their product, boosting sales from $12m to $91m (£56.95m) in three years. British pomegranate brand Pomegreat sticks to the rules on health claims – only citing proper medical studies, and is building a national brand in an almost hopelessly competitive industry because of that one USP.

Lesson: A single USP can make your brand, and it may not be initially obvious.

Get into schools

Schoolchildren are tomorrows consumers and marketing to them can pay big dividends. The British Cheese Board despaired that British school kids were failing to identify the connection between milk and cheese. So they prepared tuition kits for home economics classes. The emphasis was on science – an independent supplier prepared all materials to ensure this. Now 60 per cent of primary schools use teaching materials to explain food prepared by industry promotional bodies. The alternative is a generation who think yoghurt grows on trees.

Lesson: Find consumers before they consume.

Have your own celebration week!

There’s potato week in October, British cheese week in September, beef week in April, and tomato week in May. Creating a narrow focus for marketing activities adds urgency and focus, helping your message break through the white noise barrier.

Lesson: Don’t spread your message through 365 days. Focus on a few explosive days.

Celebrate your lack of capacity

A gem courtesy of the Asparagus Growers Association. As you may know, asparagus is only available for eight weeks, April to June. A nightmare? Not any more. The industry aggressively positions asparagus as part of the “local” and “seasonable” trends. The foodie mags go nuts for this sort of thing. Instead of pleading for coverage, asparagus gets recipes, promotions and glowing write-ups in the months before. The strategy has increased sales 540 per cent in a decade.

Lesson: Shortage marketing is an underused, but potent tool.

Explain how to use your product! 

In a world where knowing how to cook a Brussels sprout is beyond most people you need to be very careful in communicating how to use your product. No kidding. When celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall told TV viewers not to overcook sprouts, sales lept by a half in two years.

Lesson: No matter how simple your product is, users will misunderstand it… if you let them.

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