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Five points of organic local marketing

03/23/2010

My Twitter week began with a marketing nod for the friendly customer service and engagement served up at my local vegetable store. Nestled between the newcomer Trader Joes and the notorious local grocer Key Food, it’s always in style and never without a customer.

If the store had a website, I would have included it as a courtesy and brand evangelizer. But then I realized, the store doesn’t need one. It’s got word-of-mouth, a dedicated local community, and location, location, location. So instead, I’m offering a list of what you’ll find that makes the store so engaging.

Here are five points of organic, local marketing.

Funny, it’s the same list that you’d find in any white paper or case study.

1. Good Product

Always fresh and local — yes you have to sort your way through the organic and non-organic. But the shoppers seem to co-exist nicely. The store itself is bare bones local. The owner always offers a wide smile and greets you as you come in. The aisles are narrow, but everyone seems to manage. It even starts a conversation or two as you ask someone to “reach for some scallions;” chat ensues and you learn a new recipe.

2a. Good Community, small

Amid the rows of fresh food that’s well cared for and presented simply, you’ll find an organic assortment of community. Our neighborhood is quite diverse and you’re never without a boomer, senior, or young marrieds out shopping. Robust seniors come in with their shopping baskets, stalking out greens. Cooks from the local middle eastern restaurants come by also. It affirms the quality of their menu— and our community. Given the tight squeeze, usually one parent comes with a toddler. Toddlers delight in the eye-level colors, shapes, and textures, nearly greeting their favorite fruit! They pick up an item or two and run to the store owner who responds with a “good job” cheer.

2b. Good Community, large

The stock people are on their way up in the world. If Wall Street bankers had displayed their resilience and determination, none of this mess would have happened. They re-stock over and around you and all seem happy. Just be careful on re-stocking day in summer and fall! There’s a heave-ho of watermelons or pumpkins from the delivery truck to the stock person and the shelves and so on.

3. Price

There’s a banana price war going on along the street. At one corner, Trader Joes has a special price per banana. At the other, Key Food uses seasonal pricing. The veget store stands like a Mason-Dixon line, always offering the same fair price.

4. Courtesy

Have you ever tried to slice up a butternut squash? Even with my pumping-iron hands, it isn’t easy. One day I asked the retailer to do it for me. He kindly agreed. Now they sell pre-cut squash and prepared vegetables for soup. It’s worth the modestly higher price and sells quickly.

5. Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Everyone knows the store. Set on a main thoroughfare at the edge of the neighborhood, people regularly stop by and load up then walk a few steps to wait for the bus. Yes, you can have your Costco’s and Whole Foods, but there’s something to be said for local.

Engagement, empowerment in every tasty bite.

Do you have a local store that does the same for you? Can you recall a plain business person who taught you marketing by example? Post your comments here. No time — no problem. Simply rate your read and click back for more.

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