Welcome to Colima! After a week in the beautiful tropical southern Mexican state of Colima, it seems like it might be interesting to share some of the experience and why this sort of thing is so important to marketing in an organization.
As an agency, I was in Colima representing our organic banana client, Organics Unlimited. This is the area where many of their bananas are grown, and until as a marketer I’ve experienced the place, the people behind it and the processes, it is always hard to embrace the subtleties that are an important part of marketing. I’ve visited the areas several times over the years, so what I saw in the banana growing was not new to me. But I also saw it from a different perspective, because with me on the trip was a group of Organics Unlimited’s customers from New Seasons markets in Portland and New Leaf markets in Santa Cruz. For them it was new, and it gave them an appreciation for the exacting and time consuming work that goes into delivering a perfect organic banana.
The next important part of this trip was that through their GROW social responsibility program, Organics Unlimited partnered with Project Amigo in Colima about 17 years ago. Project Amigo was a great choice for receiving the funding for this program because they do a great job at giving a hand up to the children of Colima. The work they do speaks for itself. Additionally important is that this work, when done in Colima, is done in the name of GROW, so that it is connecting the GROW by Organics Unlimited brand with both the worker and the visitor. It gives a transparency which helps the trust that people have in the GROW brand. My oversight on this program helps to ensure that for visitors, they not only see the Project Amigo brand, but also the GROW brand that means so much in the US. Another important part of this trip is that, because of the partnership with Project Amigo, Organics Unlimited can easily invite their customers to come to visit the farms and see the work that is done. Without exception, the people who were on this trip talked about how they could now go back to their company and their customers and tell the GROW by Organics Unlimited story. This becomes good word of mouth communication, but since these are retailers, it also means they will add signage to their stores, talk about their trip on social media, and share stories in more mass communication.
As an agency marketer, the relationship we develop with the various people in the organization to further our understanding and communication is invaluable. The contact with the customer allows us to better understand their needs and therefore market bananas with the needs and wants of the customer in mind, not just always pushing the agency that may be our bright ideas that may mean little to the retail customer or consumer.
Marketing is about communication, and time and experience on the ground make the communication strong and more relevant. My final message would be to look at the benefit of taking the time to learn about what you’re marketing, and to make sure everyone in the marketing team has a similar knowledge base and passion for your product. This all spells success, and it’s one of the reasons Oster and Associates has worked so well with clients over the years.