Know that Mastercard™ commercial? Since New Year’s Eve, I’ve been thinking of my own version:
Tin of Petrossian™ Royal Caviar: $280
Bottle of Dom Perignon™ Champagne: $150
Truly Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Priceless
It is easy to demonstrate that extra virgin olive oil has qualities and benefits that can’t be measured by the latest commodity index price of $9.87/gallon. But in the real world of cash-sensitive consumers, your marketing program has to answer the inevitable question “Why would I pay twice as much for this pretty bottle as I would for a plastic jug from a big-store brand?”
Some of the answers are easy to figure out. They are the favorite facts about olive oil that hit home year after year and are still trending upward in 2012. Other marketing messages might require a little out-of-the-box thinking.
- Healthy Fat: There is a health difference between olive oil grades. Push it.
- Artisanal: Hand-crafted products convey a care that impersonal big brands can’t touch.
- Geographic Cache: Even Petrossian promotes its heritage as an iconic Parisian brand. Beware the “Tuscan” image. It is so overused as to be almost meaningless, but what’s unique about where you produce it?
- The Story: Ebay says it best: tell a story and it will sell. It’s the reason I was able to sell a 200ml bottle priced at $18 in 1999 at farmers’ markets.
- Culinary Ideas: Keep it simple, but expand your customers’ imagination about everyday uses, not just the special occasion drizzle.
- Beauty Product: The size and scope of the beauty business is huge. Not too many olive oil producers pursue it. Try being a little fish in a very big pond.
- Entertainment: Olive oil can be a very entertaining experience. Just ask the 200+ tasting bars popping up all over the U.S.
As you start to market your new 2012 harvest, reassess where you stand and what you can do to improve your brand in the eyes of your customers. When was the last time you visited stores to review how your competition is priced or positioned? Or asked repeat customers why they came back for more?
There is a long list of marketing tactics a producer can tap into to leverage the best market price. At the bottom is a price that covers your expenses, provides for a reasonable margin of profit and creates enough demand to sell out within the first year of production. At the top is a price that makes the most of supply and demand, placing your product in a position worth its premium pricing. Which ones you pick will be up to the unique qualities that your product offers. Figure out your best fit and go for it.