Well, granola heads, it's no Whole Foods. But, another competitor - one much closer in approach - is using field marketing and WOM to actively take on the big guys. With some early success.
Check out this brand launch strategy:
Audience: Suburban Moms (mid-tier shoppers who don't currently buy a lot of organic food)
Medium: Online - offline / trying for viral
Marketing budget: ~ $200,000
Key online tactic: Amazing Growing Virtual Sunflower - a downloadable desktop plant that would live or die based on user action to water, give sunlight and fertilize. Totally sharable on a daily basis - look what I grew.
Key offline tactic: Think pink flamingos, but more eco-friendly. Olson & Sunflower Market took guerilla to the 'burbs with "lawnvertising" - planting neighborhood lawns in a three-mile radius with branded cardboard sunflowers.
Key media tactic: Six weeks out from the first store opening, key media received a branded flower pot + seeds and soil with the instruction to "plant the seeds in the pot, and, by the time it sprouts, you will have been introduced to the sunny new face of organic food."
BIG, BIG, BIG ROI:
- Whole Foods' plans to build a competing store were put on hold
- Pickup by all local TV news + online media
- Exceeded initial sales goals by ~20%
- Nearly doubled average basket goals
- Lots of email registrations for ongoing communication
So far, Sunflower Market has five stores in the midwest with more opening soon...