Author: Harm Custers – Head of Marketing at Takii Europe B.V.
In horticulture, marketing is still undervalued. Often I find myself explaining why to invest in marketing. Our industry stands out in product development, quality and logistics, while there is still considerable potential in the area of marketing. Which, when carried out well, is proven to work. I call it ‘REAL marketing’.
During my recent visit to Spain, I was introduced to a melon grower as ‘Head of Marketing’. “Yeah right …. marketing?” he replied cynically. “Recently a company introduced a new brand in the market, with a lot of noise. But they did not succeed, their variety wasn’t good enough. You see, marketing is just a waste of money. Just give me good products!” Instead of defending, I smiled and told him that I agree. This was a clear example of poor marketing and indeed an unsuccessful investment.
When it comes to marketing, people tend to think of advertising and ‘smooth sellers’. But marketing goes beyond that. It starts with defining the customer and his needs and ends with delivering sustainable customer value – the customer appreciates what he gets, is satisfied with it and repeats purchasing. In this process, you make a ’brand promise’. And consequently, it is absolutely vital that you continue delivering according to this promise.
In the case of the Spanish melon grower, I don’t know where this went wrong. Apparently, there was a mismatch between the brand promise and the customers’ experience. Which resulted in low satisfaction, no repeated purchase and even worse: bad references. A fan turns into a detractor: a nightmare for the Marketeer.
This brings me to what I believe is fundamental: REAL marketing! Stay close to what the brand really is about (so no false promises!). It is about going back to the roots: authenticity. And authenticity works! It is one of the most important factors in today’s marketing. Authenticity is a condition for credibility and trust. Whoever is REAL is believed, heard and attracts others like a magnet. This counts for people as well for brands.
In a world full of fake: BE AUTHENTIC!