Doesn’t it seem so nice and pleasant when you visit your local farmer’s market?  The vendors all greet you with a warm smile and they offer free samples which are so hard to refuse because they all look so tasty.  Before you know it, you have spent probably more money than you expected, but you most likely feel pretty satisfied.  After all, the food is fresh and even though some of the prices may be a bit higher than your local grocer (excluding Whole Foods of course), the overall experience is simply worth it every once in a while.

Now I was thinking the other day about what makes these local vendors at the markets such fantastic marketers.  If you think about it, these local vendors have become some of the most savvy marketers today and the proof is there.  I am sure we can all name a small brand that started out about 5-10 years ago at one of these markets, but now their product is for sale at your local Whole Foods and some even offered coast to coast.  So let’s explore what these savvy farmer’s market vendors are doing so well and see what we all can learn from their marketing tactics.


1. They are Personable.

Doesn’t it seem like these vendors are the happiest people on the planet?  Every time I visit the farmer’s market, I usually leave saying to myself, “Wow, these people are so easy to talk to, warm & friendly, and seem to love what they do”.  Now of course this is their job and they need to sell their products just like all of us, but their warm smile, friendly manner and seemingly genuine interest in how we are doing is hard not to notice.  Sales people take notice here as what these vendors are doing is making their customer seem like the most important person on the planet during the time of interaction.  They are not focusing and aggressively pushing their product on you.  Instead, they are engaging with you in a genuine manner, listening to you and focusing their attention on you 100%.  Key takeaway here is: Treat each customer like gold, one customer at a time.


2. They are Passionate and Very Knowledgeable About Their Product.

Well its very obvious even from a passive observer that these vendors are quite passionate about their product and that they truly believe in it.  Having this belief is quite powerful and it really does make an impression on customers.  Think about how weak a sales pitch sounds when it lakes conviction.  The next point is that these vendors really own what they do in the sense that they understand their product from A to Z.  They can tell you how the product was made, where it was made and even how fresh it is.  As we all know from selling, if you don’t know your product 100%, it can kill a sale in an instant, especially when you delay on a question because you don’t have the answer.  Key takeaway here is: know your product and you had better believe in it or find something else to do.


3. They Offer Free Samples.

Ahh yes, one of the best parts about visiting the farmer’s market is the free samples.  Wow, its fun to just sample all of the food and sample some more.  Before you know it, you have purchased more items than you planned on, but are quite excited about them.  Key takeaway here is: never underestimate the power of a free sample.  After all, isn’t this what the freemium model in the online world is based on!!?


4. They Have a Simple & Clear Website.

This might seem like a very basic insight, but I truly find that the simplest websites are my favorite ones.  Why is this?  Well, a simple website is easy to navigate, the information is clear and not hidden, and they are typically attractive (without any high tech videos, flash, etc.)  If you think for a second at some of the best websites and many people consider Apple’s to be one of the top ones, it displays all of these assets.  Again, this might seem like a trite point, but think of all of the products that we have searched for online yet couldn’t find for some reason on a website and then its a lost sale.  As marketers we all know,  this is the last thing we want and it can be avoided with proper design.  Takeaway here is: Keep your website simple, less is more.


5. They Are Good at Creating Communities (Social Media).

Now this is a real skill and one that simple takes time as we all know, but its hard not to dispute that the vendors at these markets are pros at this.  After all, the market itself is essentially its own community and as we all know, they are popping up everywhere.  So let’s just take a look at how these vendors are doing this.  First, they have an actual space to market their products.  Second, they are attracting like minded customers as well as vendors by doing local advertising.  The last point is that these are open, accessible and welcoming communities.  All of these characteristics are essentials in the process of building a community and followers.  Social media has been a key element in helping these vendors to foster and grow these communities as well as their customer base.  They are good at building their list of customers and at keeping their content fresh.  Key takeaway here is: Embrace social media & encourage your customers to use it.


I hope this post has been helpful and reminds us all about the importance of marketing basics.  So next time you are at your local farmer’s market, enjoy the food and perhaps pay attention to what these vendors are doing.  There is a lot to learn from this fast growing community.


Farmer’s Market in Maine

Farmers Market