Marketing from the Grocery Aisles: Picking Tomatoes

When mired in a marketing conundrum, I often ponder, “What would a grocery store do?” I’m fixated with the seeming simplicity of grocery stores, and their ability to appeal to people of all ages and walks-of-life. Italian tomatoes

Release a squadron of toddlers into a grocery store, and fairly quickly, they’ll spot their favorite box of sugar-sweetened, processed grains, disguised as cereal or start snatching boxes of cookies, crackers, juice boxes, and snack packs of the shelves.

Senior citizens and health-conscious individuals are more likely to peruse the whole-grain section of the cereal aisles, while parents of infants might reach for cream of wheat and baby-friendly porridges.

ContadinaThroughout a grocery store, aisles of canned and packaged goods, end caps, fresh and prepared food sections beacon shoppers to explore what’s available. What turns browsing shoppers into buyers tends to be the emotional or physical appeal of a product.

Appealing photos and graphics, strong headlines, carefully worded text, diagrams, and engaging colors are pivotal to charming fresh, frozen, packaged, and canned foods into buyers’ carts. Minor tweaks to packaging and marketing copy can make a huge impact.

Case in point, a few weeks ago, I had an urge to make gumbo. I needed to purchase a large can of tomatoes. Steering my basket down the aisle, I considered my options:

Paste: Too thick and overly intense tomato taste
Sauce: Too runny with no texture
Diced: Too big
Whole: Way too big.
Crushed: Perfect!

Hunts tomatoeI then need to decide what brand to purchase. Instantly catching my eye were several brands of tomatoes from Italy. Without picking up the cans or comprehending the words on the labels, I instantly knew they were Italian. The graphic design and bright colors on the labels subconsciously registered as “Italian.”

Think about it for a moment. The labels on the cans were so strong that I immediately knew where the tomatoes originated, and more importantly, my bias told me they probably tasted better than those canned by American companies.

And while they were considerably more expensive, I contemplated whether the price justified the taste, and if I should purchase a can even though they were only available as tomato sauce or whole tomatoes.

Del Monte tomatoesEven though my penny-pinching tendencies usually guide me towards generic brands, in the end, I chose a national brand because it had a lovely picture of crushed tomatoes in a pretty bowl on the label. The other cans of tomatoes, including the generic brands, didn’t have particularly appetizing labels.

Stepping outside the grocery store, what type of imagery, graphics, headlines, and colors is your company using to promote its products and services? When visitors arrive at your website, does the design pique their interest and create a memorable, positive impression? Can customers quickly tell what you’re offering?

Italian tomatoes_2It’s easy to get caught up in a catchy headline or interesting photo, but if it doesn’t advance the preference and understanding of your products or services. It might not be the best choice.

Next time, I might buy a can of tomatoes from Italy. My curiosity about how they might taste has been roused.


One comment

  1. […] the probability, it’ll end up in the shopping cart. The label on even a pedestrian product, like canned tomatoes, can influence ones […]

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