Marketing an Olive Oil Emporium

Situation/Background

This next story was taken from the Gloucester Daily Times. To view the complete article read it here.  Lauren Linquata Negron and her husband, Eric Negron just opened, “The Cape Ann Olive Oil Company,” a specialty shop that sells quality olive oils and vinegars imported from around the world.  The owners’ ultimate goal is to create a destination shop for the city of Gloucester, MA.  The small fishing community was made famous by the movie, “The Perfect Storm” and welcomes many tourists and partial residents in the summer.  This fishing community has a strong Italian/Portuguese base and the new shop can be found on Main Street’s “West End,” prime real estate in the downtown area.  The Cape Ann Olive Oil Company finds itself amongst many long standing restaurants and businesses.

Strategy

The first step has already been taken, the shop which opened Saturday, January 21, 2012, already has a newspaper story generating buzz with the locals.

What else needs to be done to establish an identity? There are many approaches the owners can take; the first and most important step is to identify the key customers. There are 4 markets the owners should appeal to:

1.) Local residents

2.) Local businesses/owners

3.) Tourists

4.) Media

Implementation /Communication

There are many ways to promote the company within each market. Of course some of these examples carry over into other categories as well.  Here are just a few tips:

For local residents:

1.)    Educate them.  Host tastings, workshops, cooking lessons, guest speakers/chefs, tours of the shop, etc.  Have recipes in the local newspaper using your own special oils and vinegars.

2.)    Once established, create a cook book or guide to using the oils and vinegars. Sell it in the shop and in local book stores and grocery stores.

3.)    Offer residents a special local discount, or have a “buy one get one free” day.

4.)    Make your presence known at local fairs, especially in the summer there are a ton of activities for locals and tourists.  Presence is key!

5.)    Host a contest. How would you use this ingredient? Have well known locals be the “celebrity” judge(s).

For businesses/owners:

1.)    Establish a relationship with local businesses.  Ask them to use your product, give a discount in exchange for your name on the menu.  Many times using local businesses/products appeal to consumers.  That “buy local” vibe goes far. A perfect partnership would be with the bakery, Virgilios, down the street.  Have bread on hand to sample the different oils or have an “oil/vinegar of the day/week”.

2.)    Once many restaurants use your product host a “tasting crawl” similar to a bar crawl, but take your guests to local restaurants to experience your product in action. Charge one overhead price and it may generate future business for all companies involved!

3.)    Provide coupons, brochures, etc. to businesses to hand out to their customers that use your product, and of course, offer to promote their marketing materials as well.

Tourists:

1.)    Align yourself with the Chamber of Commerce; tourists can come in for a sampling, a free bottle of their choice (maybe a selected group).  Is it possible to have a special tourist sampling that ties in with the local community, “Gloucester’s Finest”, “Fisherman Approved”? I am sure copyright is an issue here, but wouldn’t it be witty if you had one called, “The Perfect Storm”?   Find a way to tie in the local heritage.

2.)    Create a website and set up online ordering so they don’t have to wait for a visit to taste the goodies.

3.)    Publish a special cookbook to take home with them.  Of course this would work best with a website so they can continue to use the book and generate future sales.

Media:

1.)    Host a media tour or give exclusive rights to specific media outlets:

Local TV Shows: Gloucester Access television, “TV Diner”, “Phantom Gourmet”

Magazines: “North Shore Magazine”, “Boston Magazine”

Newspapers: “Gloucester Daily Times”, “Cape Ann Beacon”, “The Boston Globe”

All of the above:

Newsletter/Facebook page/Twitter/YouTube videos/Website – sharing information, a new recipe of the week, encourage others to share recipes with you, share special deals, upcoming news, new products, etc.  Just engage the audience and put yourself everywhere!

Evaluation

All you would have to do is ask how they heard about the event or the business. This is an easy way to figure out what tactics are working to promote the business. In the future make sure to invest more in those outlets/types of activities that are attracting attention and build from there.

File under: Oil and Water don’t mix but Oil and Vinegar do.

Images Courtesy of Microsoft Office Clip Art

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