Tomatoes ain’t ketchup

Does this sound familiar to you?

Kid: I don’t like tomatoes.
You: Well, you like ketchup, don’t you?
Kid: Yeah…
You: Well, ketchup is made from tomatoes. They’re good for you.
Kid: <groan>

How about this one?

Husband: I don’t like buttermilk.
Wife: Well, you like ranch dressing, don’t you?
Husband: Yeah…
Wife: Well, buttermilk is used to make ranch dressing. It’s good for you.
Husband: <groan>

Ever think that as food marketers we try to do the same thing? At home, we’re trying to get our loved ones to do something that’s healthy for them. In the marketplace, though, the old push strategy is quickly being supplanted by radical consumer choice. It’s all about what they want, when they want it.

On-demand is about more than movies on cable and satellite television. People want messages about the products we’re selling available for access. And those messages have to be relevant.

If traditional marketing methods are “tomatoes” and on-demand messaging is “ketchup,” stop wasting time and money “buying tomatoes” they won’t “eat.”

Essentially, what they’re telling us is:

“Of course, I like ketchup. That’s because ketchup is a pleasantly-proportioned blend of tomatoes, corn syrup, salt and vinegar pureed and prepared into a delectable dipping sauce and spread for my favorite ketchup-delivery vehicles, such as burgers, fries and chicken strips.”

What consumers have a tougher time articulating is this:

“I don’t like tomatoes because they’re a cold, waxy, semi-bitter, watery eating experience with those gelatinous seed wads that make them even more unappealing. You can’t even compare that to ketchup. Please!”

But instead of telling us, they just ignore us or walk away. It’s simple. Give them what they want when they want it.


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