As a food business founder, I'm always thinking about ways to make The Garden of Eva's pickles, relishes, and jams accessible to customers, especially since they don't exist in the UK. While that gap in the market is a great opportunity, tapping into it takes work.
We always hear about customer education and how important it is. I thought that telling people how versatile the products are would be enough. "The Chow Chow (a pickled relish) goes on everything: burgers, leafy greens, pinto beans, chicken, etc. The chili-watermelon jam is a sandwich spread, dipping sauce, and works well added to stir fries. The pickled watermelon rind goes with barbecue, deli salads, ham, etc." I was so wrong.
I am so grateful to my coach, Stu Macdonald, the brilliant founder of ManiLife | B Corp™, the roasted peanut butter that I buy regularly and faithfully (it really is special). He listened to me talk about how I was presenting our relish, jam, and pickle to customers and immediately honed in on the problem. He basically said it was too much, too unfocused, and too confusing for customers who need a clear entry point - especially for products that are outside their daily experience.
He paused and asked one question, "Is there a common denominator across all three products?" I thought about it and the light bulb went on: they are all great with cheese/charcuterie. That was a critical turning point for me as a founder who MUST communicate clearly and succinctly to potential customers.
Cheese/charcuterie are the entry point for British customers because they know and love them! Once they try our products with cheese/charcuterie, they figure out other ways to use them.
The result of this revelation? Clarity on where to focus my efforts: cheese shops, wine stores, delis, butchers, wine tastings. You get the idea - I'm focusing on the cheese/charcuterie ecosystem. It is working and I'm getting traction, interest, and orders!
So what are the takeaways?
1. Keep it simple: find one clear message to deliver to customers.
2. Meet your customer where s/he is and they will then go on a journey.
3. Do everything you can to find a coach who can ask probing questions and challenge your assumptions.