The Best Way to Market

When one is in small business, marketing is the kicker.  It’s really expensive to buy ads, and most of the time they do nothing anyway.  I’ve come to realize that though it may seem expensive, the best and cheapest way to market a food business is to give away product.

And certainly, when it comes to fruitcake, God knows the skeptical customer needs to taste it.  Once again, I had a few people recoil at my question, “Would you like to sample some of my fruitcake?”  This was at an event at the Kelowna Wine Museum on Thursday evening.

They were pairing my fruitcakes with some locally-made ports.  It was really lovely, as people had sharp, aged cheddar, pieces of fruitcake and a glass of nice, fortified wine.  Several people left with fruitcakes, vowing to serve them on a tray interspersed with a good cheese.

At this event I found out about a store called Okanagan Grocery Artisan Breads.  I raced right in there the next day and was amazed at the beautiful stuff the baker, Monika Walker, makes.  I instantly bought chocolate bread, made with Callebaut chocolate, and a loaf of salty olive bread.

Strangely, while I was buying these two items, I imagined myself presenting them to the family, and not eating any.  Imagine my surprise when I found myself cutting piece after delicious piece of the chocolate bread.  I went to bed bloated, but extremely happy.

I have a new customer, and again, this is as a result of the person eating the product.  Through networking at The Woman’s Place fitness centre, I was able to get samples to the owner of a store at Big White.  At first, she was like, “I don’t see how fruitcake is going to work.”  Then she ate it, and immediately e mailed an order!

I was speaking with the bakery manager of Urban Fare in Vancouver, as we were discussing my upcoming sampling session there.  As it turns out, they’re having a three-day food and wine event starting November 20th, so I’m going to be there for that.  I told her that a nice addition to my fruitcakes is sharp cheeses, so she’s going to provide them, and they’ll pair me with a winery.  Fun!

But here’s the news that made me jump up and down with excitement – a company called Nutenfru, that used to be a competitor, has allegedly decided to get out of the fruitcake business!!  So with any luck I’m going to become everyone’s favourite fruitcake.  Armed with that piece of news I’m ready to march bravely into the upcoming season.

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