Profiles & Thinking In Reverse

Every retailer should be able to articulate details about the customer profiles in their target market. That said, few actually take the time to go through this very important exercise. These outlines give valuable insight into who your business is targeting and where else they might spend their time and money. Being clued up about your customers' wider spending habits can present opportunities to get your business in from of them in ways you've not considered before.

Each year, like in many many other countries, we have our TV awards evening; in Australia, we call ours 'The Logies'.

This year one nominee in the awards took a different approach. Among the final nominees for the Gold Logie, the top award in TV, was a comedian, Tom Gleeson. He is what would be called a sartorial comedian. He organised and participated in a comedy marketing campaign that ridiculed the awards and which was critical of his competitor nominees for the award.

The result of this campaign was the TV audience for the award was one of the highest in recent years, plus he won the public vote and, ultimately, the 'Gold Logie'.

Tom Gleeson - Savage Opening

(* Note: The clip contains content some viewers may offensive *)

What does this have to do with your business, maybe very little, except, Reverse Marketing is an increasingly popular marketing tool and a technique you should at least be aware of and possibly consider introducing into your own marketing strategy.

It's all about looking at things the other way around... Turning negatives into positives if you like!

If you have not already done it, I suggest you take time with your managers and team and create a plan of who you do NOT want as a customer. On occasions, this can make clearer who your ACTUAL TARGET MARKET is so that you can concentrate on communicating your values to those people.

The next challenge is, what do you say to that target market? You need them to notice you in a crowded marketplace.

Consider the following techniques to grow your market.

Don’t promote yourself, promote a network

Once you have a full profile of the type of consumer you DO want in your business, you should also have established where they are likely to spend their time when they are not at your farm shop.

  • Where else is that customer profile likely to shop?
  • What restaurants do they use?
  • How do you think they spend their leisure time?

You can now use these additional avenues to communicate with potential customers.

As many of you will know, Linda and I, produce 15 tonnes of sweet chestnuts a year; a product that is not known to many in my part of the world.

That said, we have a clear picture of who we want to attract.

Our research revealed that Foodies were our target market, these foodies eat at “white table cloth” restaurants and so we consciously decided to target the head chefs at these restaurants. We ask them to promote the farm in their restaurants, on the menu, and when serving sweet chestnuts.

By way of reciprocation, we promote their restaurants in our social media marketing.

This has given us the credibility we are looking for. To work with a "middle of the road restaurant", we decided that they would not give us the exposure and credibility we are looking for.

Ora Salmon”, from New Zealand, concentrates on “Farm to Five Star Table’ in their promotions. They do not spend a lot of time focusing on the quality of the product; all salmon eaters know the quality to already be the best. They do, however, explore the supply chain and how that maintains their exceptionally high, quality standard.

Learn to turn negatives into positives

Here's another valuable case-study that reinforces the point.

One of the challenges hotels on the west coast of Vancouver Island in Canada had was that whilst they were fully booked in summer, they had problems paying the bills in winter. The storms blew in and the hotel rooms were empty.

By thinking in reverse, that is not the case today... Now, when a storm is due, the hotels are full of guests who enjoy the experience of watching those very same storms blow in.

Vancouver Island Storm Hotels
When are your quiet times and what can you do to build guest traffic at that time of year?

When it is quiet in your business, you can provide quality time with customers and they are prepared to pay for this premium time with you and your team.

A local farmer in Western Australia, near to our farm, developed a “Mud Fest” in the middle of winter. He invited people down from the city in winter to race through muddy fields with obstacles in them.

Is he crazy? Yes and no at the same time!

Better Farm Attraction Marketing Ideas

The local accommodation is now fully booked for the event at a time when they were normally empty.

He has been so successful that he has now partnered with another farmer in another region of the State to grow the event even further. Potential visitors can now go on a “Mud Fest” trail

It was always a challenge to get visitors down on the farm in winter, The “Mud Fest” is now his major event of the year and each year it gets more successful, mainly through participants promoting it to their friends

We all have quiet times in our year when we would like to have more customers.

Also remember, in a well-run business, when the customer count is down the average sale should be higher.

If it is not something is probably at fault with your customer service strategy. We need times when we have fewer customers so that we can add more value to the offer.

Therefore getting customers into your business when you are quiet should be a major driver for the business and a means of business growth.

Think of strategies of how you can grow the business in quiet periods.

In our own business, we have developed “The Chestnut Experience”. We take people on a chestnut journey through the farm and the production area.

In the harvest period, we are too busy to develop such an experience for the consumer. This has proved to be a profitable time in the business as we achieve a high average sale per customer group.

Using Reverse Marketing Technique in your business.

This technique of marketing is based on three parts

1. Recognition by your customers of you and your product range. This means you have to monitor the food trends in the marketplace and the changes in consumer behaviour. You have to be customer-focused

2. They come to you rather than you go to them. You have to give them the reasons to come to you and the channels to contact you.

3. As a business, provide value and information. Every time you contact customers, add more value and more information so that you can build the engagement between your business and them. In our own business, we have found providing unusual recipes using our product to be a very effective marketing tool

These techniques can be used in traditional marketing campaigns as well as in social media campaigns, or both.

So give it a go... Put your reverse-marketing hat on and see what new perspectives you get on how to market your business!


John Stanley

John Stanley


John Stanley is a retail consultant specialising in the farm retail sector. Based in West Australia, he is a sweet chestnut and pig farmer as well as consultant and conference speaker with clients in 35 countries. He is the author of several books in this subject, including the book 'Food Tourism... A Practical Marketing Guide'

Great minds think alike.

Let’s put our heads together for a win-win partnership that benefits your business and ours.
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