Why big corporate is SO easy to market against.

I hear all the time about how the big, bad box stores and large companies are “tough” or “impossible” to compete against.

That’s a little bit true, but only if you are looking at it totally backwards.

How do you define success in your community-based retail store? Grossing 2MM a year or bankrupting Wal-Mart?

If it’s the latter, please inhale and exhale a little bit more often:)

Is Wal-Mart bankruptable? Sure.
Is it your job to do so? Probably not. Get your revenge by taking astoundingly good care of your clients, taking home more than “your fair share” (whatever that misguided concept means), paying your employees well and contributing to your community. You do that by using smart marketing against the big boys.

At #206 in the Fortune 500, General Mills is one of those big boys. Imagine that you manufacture (cook, create, whatever) a locally-made, health-oriented granola bar and you are trying to get your bar into the local grocery chain. Your bar is positioned as healthy, good for you, maybe it’s even organic.

The grocery buyer says “I don’t need another greeny granola bar, we sell Fiber One bars from General Mills.” The buyer may or may not have other excuses/reasons, but I won’t elaborate on those here.

So you reach over onto the shelf and pull a box of Fiber One bars, flip it over and read the label. Among all the healthy sounding stuff like “rolled oats” and “chicory root extract”, you find items like shellac, ethanol and glycerin. Or you mention the high maltose corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup and palm kernel oil. Or the tricalcium phosphate, alkali-processed cocoa, and so on.

I’m guessing you don’t find any of those ingredients in the bars you make in your personally-handcrafted commercial kitchen.

Does your marketing draw attention to things like that?

Ever seen the commercials that the “The Truth” group does against Big Tobacco? When 1200 “body bags” appear on the streets and sidewalks outside a corporate HQ, it gets noticed. Likewise, it is noticed when a guy is mixing arsenic and other toxic items into a blender as he shows what is found in cigarettes.

Well, granola boy, you can use the same techniques when bringing up the high fructose corn syrup, palm kernel oil, shellac, ethanol and glycerin. Maybe yours don’t have as much of an edge, or maybe they do. That is a decision you have to make. Take a look at the marketing that Kashi does and decide if you want to be edgier, or not. They’ve chosen a soft means to communicate a similar message.

A can of shellac and a can of ethanol will go a long way to getting people talking about your product as a better alternative.