Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Blogger Browsing 

I've been following the Garden Party hosted at various business blogs (and organized by Todd at A Penny For), following links, checking to see if I can find a snippet of information that will help us in our efforts to formulate our marketing strategies.

Manager's busy with the finance end of things - that's her job.

Me, I'm delving into marketing, calling upon my experiences decades ago as a wannabee ad writer.  I worked for a small but very prestigious ad agency in Dallas back in the early 70's, and I worked briefly with an outdoor advertising agency, and retained much of what I learned there. 

Hey, I blogged on paper long before there were blogs, and I have all the paper journals and notes I wrote.  I have tests and essays from when I was seven and eight years old all the way to the present.  Packratitis does occassionally serve a purpose.   In reading back through the notes I took and the comments and observations and questions I had back then, I've found that while I haven't changed that much in what I felt was good marketing, the market itself has changed to be aligned more with what I once (and still) thought was right.

Evocative ads attract more attention.  Fewer words, more image sells best on billboards.  Who has time to read at 65 miles an hour?  A flash of image with a distinctive logo will last much longer than a full paragraph in ten foot letters.

I still rememebr clearly the absolute best billboard ad I ever saw:  Coca Cola's.  It was a huge bed of square ice cubes, slightly melted with a partially opened bottle of Coke resting on it, sweat beading the sides of the glass bottle.  That's it.  No words other than the label on the soda bottle, but very suggestive.  Everytime I saw that, even if I wasn't thirsty, I thought about getting a Coke.  And here it is, more than 30 years later, and I still remember that ad clearly.  The top of the bottle leaned to the left, and you just wanted to reach out and pluck that bottle off the sign, or take the next exit to buy one.

So, I've been browsing the links from re:invention, and Small Business Trends, and finding such gems as Ageless Marketing.

Mr. Wolfe eloquently speaks the thoughts I want to articulate.  And he taps into resources I hadn't found.  His blog will certainly be one I will read often.

Thanks to his link, I can read the Hartbeat by the Hartman Group, which addresses an issue near and dear to our own hearts right now - trends effecting the Cracked Cauldron.  His July 20th post contains this quote which I think speaks directly to the heart and soul of the Cracked Cauldron:  "The Hartman Group says the carb infatuation has already peaked and set to begin eroding down to a few hard core types because it lacks “cultural legitimacy.” This is symbolized by the words of one consumer who said, "I'm done with low-carb...Try watching your carbs, let alone eliminating your carbs, and you realize you're involved in this no-win game where you can't really enjoy eating. It's just wrong."

There will always be people who adhere to one diet or another, and at the Cracked Cauldron, we've made efforts to provide for their needs:  wheat-free, sugarless, gluten-free, lower carb, vegan, nut-free.  We'll always have a few yummies these people can enjoy with less guilt.  We've worked hard over the past nine months to create recipes that are flavorful, pretty, and within special dietary restrictions just for them.

The Atkins diet matures, it isn't all zero-carb induction phase.  As people stay on it longer, they get to add carbs back into their diet.  This may account for some of the decline in people participating in it.

But whether it's a recoiling from such a restrictive diet, as quoted from Ageless Marketing, or dieters entering a new phase of the diet, more people will be eating breads and grain-based foods.

Heh - the pastry and cookie market never suffered during the height of the Atkins diet craze.

That was an interesting bit of information from Ageless Marketing, but not the most important.

The important bits come from the information Mr. Wolfe presents about the demographics of society, how there are more old people living, and how that will change spending habits.

All I need to do is find the right words to tell the right people about the Cracked Cauldron.

If you're old enough to remember the days when children were sent scampering down to the corner bakery to buy the day's bread before dashing off to school, you'll remember the crusty rolls with the dense soft interiors, the sweet oversized madeleines dipped in rich chocolate, the airy cream puffs, and the spicy little cookies the baker always slipped you to add to your lunch.  You'll remember the weekly trip to buy that loaf of brown bread that was sliced all week long for sandwiches, and sneaking a slice after school to dampen it and sprinkle on sugar for a furtive treat yummy treat.

And you'll remember the day you were allowed to join the adults at the coffee or tea table, to have a cup of rich fragrant coffee poured for you and a choice of elegant coffee cakes or tea breads spread out before you.

We want to bring some of these adult delights back into our part of the world, and alongside the memories, we offer tempting indulgences that will build new memories for the next generation - exotic cookies, decadent brownies and bars and cheesecakes, and all the beverages to accompany them.

We just have to find the words to share with our community what we offer them.

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