November 2011 Intermediary A-Musing
Mixing Business Markets
An interested twist to understanding your customer was explained to us via a street market trader who, settled amongst the fruit and veg stalls, was laying out a display of woolly winter gloves, mittens and hats. He told of an extension to his product range during the past summer months; Fruit.
Seasonal clothing plus fresh fruit, how’s that work?
The brain rain started up to the microwave ‘ping’ sound. Of course! High price inflation has affected prices in this billion pound retail industry, combined with unseasonal weather, rise of supermarket share, high street turbulence, etc. The supply/demand balance became tricky. He USED to sell fruit. Seeking new market opportunities he’s now set up a winter stall with winter accessories.
Don’t make a simple idea complicated!
He went on to explain… In summer the woolly hats are caps, the gloves are traded for cotton bags, the earmuffs exchanged for headbands. Amongst fresh fruit stalls he’d decided to try out fake fruit as a stall decoration to add to the retail mix of the market.
When the marketing mix, for promotion, is balanced between product, price and place; with the ‘product’ offering what the customer wants, at the right price in the right market, the blend for marketing can be as sweet as a naturally sweet smoothie. The core to a business rarely changes; the difference is in the customer’s perception of what your product is, be it, apple seller to zookeeper and anything in between. Understanding the customer mix is the counter balance for the marketing mix. The frequency of a customer, what is purchased, when it’s purchased, applies to all businesses. To understand your business is to understand your customer.
Both this stall holder’s business mix and the street market retail mix might have benefited more if he’d invested in promoting the health benefits of fruit and vegetables and wearing a shade-giving cotton hat or cap through Summer or, the health benefits of fruit and vegetables and keeping warm with gloves and scarf in Winter instead of investing in the unsold plastic fruit he bought following a woman clearing him out of his original stall display. The clue to understanding your customer being her declaration, ‘that should stop them eating the real stuff!’
We can only assume his investment was aimed at the “don’t like brown marks or the supplementary protein known as fruit fly on the goodies in the fruit bowl” market.
(Image credit: markhillary Article credit: Copyright SUF)