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What Food, Inc. Can Teach You about Good Marketing

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Marketing Lessons from Food, Inc. Ever watch a movie that made you angry?

A few days ago I watched “Food, Inc.” – a documentary about the origins of the food that we eat (at least here in the U.S.). To be honest, it was a bit disturbing. So disturbing that it did make me angry.

Why? Because I loves me some burgers. And this movie made me feel like I can’t eat them any more. This makes me especially angry because I am currently in search of the best burger in NYC (any suggestions?).

Why so disturbing

Let me begin by saying that you should definitely watch the movie. It’s a real eye-opener.

Essentially it details why our food system is completely messed up. It is driven by one staple crop. This is driven by government laws and subsidies. And the government food policies are driven by a few large corporations.

It’s really the perfect example of why I hold Libertarian beliefs. The government needs to stay out of business, and not subsidize a single thing. Or else it leads to a broken system filled with corporate fascism – where small businesses that deliver real value are at a disadvantage.

But I digress. Just watch the movie.

That being said, there were some key takeaways from the movie that can easily be applied to the marketing world.

Learn the Strategy

One of the people that is interviewed throughout the film is a farmer who does everything the “old school” way. He feeds his cows grass, not corn. He cleans his chickens outside…by hand.

He describes our country as one full of “technicians.” Everyone always asks “how?”

How do we make things more efficient? How do we solve problems by adding technology or steps into the process?

But no one ever asks “why?”

This is an essential question to ask, and one that I’ve covered here before. It is the linchpin of strategy.

“How” is the tactics. But knowing “why” reveals the big picture.

Speaking of which…

Ask the right Questions

I’m always amazed by how many people ask the wrong questions in marketing.

I see questions like…

  • “How do I get x-number of visitors to my site per month?”
  • “How do I get x-number of subscribers?”
  • “How do I get x-number of Facebook followers?”

But why do you need those things?

Before you start a marketing campaign you need to figure out a big-picture strategy. What will have a direct effect on your bottom line. You are running a business after all, aren’t you?

And since most of us don’t have access to unlimited funds or government regulators (like some of the companies in the movie do), we need to be smart with our decision making. And that starts by asking the right questions.

Information is Marketing

If this isn’t your first time here then you already know that I’m big on content creation. Content is information. And information is marketing.

“Food, Inc.”, for example, is a marketing piece. It is promoting one method of food production, while painting a different one in a negative light.

Organic food purchases have been rising at 20% per year. Why? Because of information. So are you creating content and putting your information out there?

Give the Customers what they want

After customers receive information, their decisions may change.

For this reason, WalMart decided to start carrying organic foods and milk without hormones. The decision was based on customer preferences.

The “old school” farmer I mentioned earlier is also doing fine for himself. Because people want what he has to offer. Customers drive hundreds of miles to get it. Why? Because they have information that is driving an unbounded need for his product.

Do your customers feel a need like that for what you have to offer? If not you should be driving that need with information and content.

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