Tuesday, June 21, 2016

How do we REACH YOU?... and other musings of a Tuesday afternoon...

In my last post - I admitted I'm a reforming control freak...  and in that vain - again - I'd like to introduce myself...  Hi, my name is JoEllen, and I'm a control freak...  I haven't actively tried to control my universe on every level for 1074 days :) give or take a few.

It's a bit tongue in cheek, and yet my reality lies with the truth, that this desire to find some control in my universe is very real.  I've learned a lot of different techniques over the years to help me refocus that desire.  Some of those techniques are; reminding myself to be present in this moment, releasing expectations (this is a tricky - multi leveled thing that I work on daily),  Reminding myself that other peoples issues are their own, and I only get to work on my personal issues. I can love and support people in their journeys, I can walk with them, listen, love, and cheer...  But I only get to change and work on my own issues.

I'm sharing all this for a purpose.  One of the things I'd like to control in my life right now, is how many people come into our bakery every day :) I'd like the good word of Great Harvest to spread out into the community.  Some folks call this marketing - and I'd like to figure out the "Magic Key" to spreading that word in a fun, friendly, and very effective manner.

When we bought the bakery 21 years ago, it was all about "Bread in Mouth"  If we could just get out to community events, and let people TASTE what bread COULD taste like - then they would come and buy bread.  It was like magic.

It took a lot of work, love, and investment of time - to be at community events sampling, and sharing our products, but it was a FUN way to market.  Beyond that idea, if we were going to have a "SALE" or a special event of some kind, we could run one add in the local papers - and we would have a huge turn out.  People looked to the newspaper as their source of info, and they read the paper front to back.  Folks also used to call friends and family on their home phone to make sure they new about a great event that was coming up.  

No more.

The other way advertising happened was "Word of Mouth"...  (different than "Bread in Mouth" but closely related).   It used to be in our daily lives, we visited with our neighbors and friends in person.  We chatted on front porches, and on the sidelines of soccer games.  We talked about any new ideas for dinner, or lunches, etc.  We shared things about our days in conversations.

No more.

Now we post, we #hashtag, and we #selfie with friends and family.  It's fun, it's quick, and it allows us to stay connected on some level.  However, the organic conversations where you share bits of your daily trivia and travel with folks just doesn't happen as much anymore.

I'm not here to put a value judgement on how things are, rather I'm just in the process of trying to figure out how to adapt my business model and adjust how I market the good news of Great Harvest.   I still believe in the importance of donating and being present at community events.  I do think people get hooked through tasting great bread, but it's different now.

The obvious answer to marketing is social media.  Yet that too is a tricky answer.  How much is enough, vs too much.  Which venues do people appreciate information coming to them, and which venues does it feel like an invasion into personal time and space.  How do we make it "REAL" without jeopardizing our real friendships and connections with you - our amazing customers?

I don't have answers, I have a lot of experiments :)  I'd love feedback from you if you have any comments and/or ideas.  I'd love you to # your favorite meals with Great Harvest products.  I'd love you to still share with your friends and family what you love about Great Harvest - and why you shop with us.  Hashtag how Great Harvest has added value to your daily shopping experiences, whether it's for lunch or for bread or for the office.  

One of the truths I have realized - is we are still very dependent on the willingness of our awesome customers to share their love of Great Harvest and all we do - with their own friends and family - either in person - or through their social media sources.

This has been a long rambling muse, and I thank you for hanging with me to the end... If you do have any great ideas - I'd love to hear them.  And if you have any friends you want to share Great Harvest with - We would love that too!