The apocryphal story goes like this: at the old Kraft, the Velveeta brand manager crowed during Brand Review (think: Inquisition without the charm) about his 95% market share of ‘pasteurized process cheese spread’. The senior marketer, Yoda-like, then asked “but what is your share of all cheese used for cooking?”, to which the Brand Manager burped out “around 5%”. The senior manager suggested that maybe there is more to marketing than just comparing yourself to your own internally defined category. And she was right.
Sometimes as marketers we forget that not everyone (read: no one) thinks about our product as much as we do. This myopia unfortunately translates to missed opportunities.
Marketers need to consider each product interaction as an opportunity to intrigue and possibly inspire a new user.
What are hardwood pellets?
During a recent Costco expedition I went to grab the traditional, if unexciting, big blue bags of Kingsford for the summer. My 40 lb snatch and heave into the cart was interrupted when I noticed an appealing orange bag with copy that excitedly extolled the virtues of what was apparently an alternative – – gourmet hardwood pellets! They promised ‘superior quality you can taste every time’ and ‘food infused with flavor’!
Curious about a potentially new way to spend even more money in the vain hope of improving my grilling, I looked further at the package to see what these ‘pellets’ were. I was up for it!
Unfortunately, there was no explanation of what pellets are, no visual of what they look like, nor any indication of how they might be used. Nothing. You apparently were either a Pellet Person or you were unimportant to the manufacturer, Traeger Wood Fired Grills.
A quick smartphone check revealed that there is indeed a unique type of grill that uses pellets instead of charcoal. These devices are also made by Traeger, which features grills from about $400 to $1200, along with a huge array of accessories. Cool looking stuff.
And it appears that pellet grills are a growing segment, presumably stealing share from traditional charcoal or gas grills. Because they require less effort. Of course! God Bless America!
According to the aggressively coiffed Steven Raichlen, the host of cable’s Barbecue University and writer of the Barbecue! Bible blog, “the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA) reports that wood pellet grills are one of the hottest trends in the industry, offering consumers the primal flavor of wood smoke coupled with the turn-of-a-knob convenience of gas. Roughly 300,000 units were sold last year—less than 2 percent of total grill sales—but the popularity of pellet grills is surging.” (http://barbecuebible.com/2015/02/20/new-pellet-grills/)
Presumably those people in the pellet grill business would be interested in inspiring avid grillers, like…me. But they whiffed on this chance.
There is a basic lesson here – – don’t waste a valuable potential messaging opportunity.
If you are in a position where potential future users may be exposed to your product or service, don’t breathe your own exhaust – – remember that there are people there who might be interested – – if you just give them a little information.
So even if you consider yourself the king of your particular pellet hill – – remember that there’s probably a bigger mountain to climb out there.