Q: How do you market a company with a great product, but a small budget?
A: Non-traditional marketing and social media.
When your product is a delicious blend of sweet chocolate, soft caramel and a salty pretzel, word of mouth marketing seems an obvious way to grow your business. That’s exactly what Taran Hensley decided when she and her mother, Jody, founded “Mom’s Originals, Inc.”
We chatted with Taran about what she’s accomplished with a limited budget and limitless creativity. Here are some highlights:
Landed new distribution through social media
By searching for keywords on Twitter (i.e., gourmet market) and following high-end retailers, Taran was able to begin conversations with prospective distributors. She followed up with phone calls and has steadily expanded the list of locations where ‘Mom’s’ are available.
Used the web to drive traffic to retailers
It’s not simply enough to land a new account, it’s important that the retailer ‘win’ in the relationship, too. If a product doesn’t sell, it doesn’t get reordered and new consumers don’t get exposed to it. Taran wants her retailers to know how much they mean to her, so she directs consumers to retailers via the ‘locator’ feature on their website.
Gained credibility through sponsorship
Do you ever wonder what the stars nosh on at award shows? Well, inside the gift bags for the 2010 Daytime Emmys, 2010 Sports Emmys, and the upcoming MTV Movie Awards and MTV Music Video awards, the swag bags contain none other than Mom’s pretzels. While Lady Gaga might not run out and buy pretzels by the truckload, the sponsorship enables Mom’s to leverage the celebrity status of these award shows, and adds credibility to their product through the implied endorsement of the well-heeled.
More than just pretzels to love
Mom’s is active in the community. Whether through donations to the USO, or to the volunteers working to clean up floods and tornado damage from the spring storms, Mom’s is committed to giving back (and spreading the good word through social media). Given the opportunity, they feel that their customers would rather do business with companies that put their pretzels where their hearts are.
Want to know who makes
money from blogging?
Mom’s - that’s who. Taran regularly scours the web for anyone mentioning their product. When foodie/blogger ‘The COMO Collective’ mentioned Mom’s and lamented the fact that her favorite retailers didn’t carry them, Taran contacted the retailers, and now Mom’s are flying off the shelf in Columbia, Mo.
Dan Klein, David Meyer and Brian Schwartz (www.wearespoke.com) are partners at Spoke Marketing.