“In business, as in agriculture, to reap a bountiful harvest, one must first understand the land they sow upon” is attributed to George S. Clason”
– George S. Clason
Over the course of three decades, I’ve had the privilege to collaborate with some of the world’s leading food brands and innovative food entrepreneurs. And I’ve observed a common challenge they often grapple with: the strategic importance of geography. When and how should they venture into new markets or efficiently manage their existing ones?
For many food executives, geography might seem trivial or secondary. But if you’re steering a successful food brand without a geographical strategy, you might be missing out on some significant opportunities. Here’s why.
Master Your Home Market First
Before aiming for the stars, plant your feet firmly on the ground. Start with:
Visual Mapping: Grab a map and mark a circle with your company at its heart. Depending on the nature of your food business, this radius could be anywhere between a few blocks to 240 miles. The goal? Identify and saturate your primary market.
Mastering Home Territory: It’s remarkable how many iconic US food brands, even after 50 years, have predominantly thrived in their home markets. Venturing out is tempting, but ensure your home ground is solid. Expanding shouldn’t be an escape from local challenges but a move to seize bigger opportunities.
Harness the Power of Census Regions
Your sales territories can benefit immensely from the organization:
Following the Established: The US is naturally divided into four main regions: Northeast, Midwest, South, and West. Embrace this natural division and here’s a handy guide to further sub-divide these into nine regions, then further into states. This not only offers clarity but also aids in effective resource allocation.
Census Data: Your Goldmine of Insights
The census data is a treasure trove for any food executive:
Population Estimates: Crucial for sales management. Understanding regional populations lets you measure the success of your products in specific markets and adjust strategies accordingly.
Sales Metrics: When assessing sales through the lens of census data, here’s what I typically examine:
– Regional Population as a percentage of the US total.
– Region’s Dollar Sales and Unit Sales, both as percentages of the brand’s US market.
Over the years, it’s clear that the food businesses which integrate these geographical principles are the ones writing success stories. They’re not only achieving business milestones but also fostering robust sales relationships.
Geography isn’t just about where you are; it’s about where your potential lies. It’s not just about marking territories; it’s about understanding them. If you’re not leveraging these geographical insights, perhaps it’s time to reconsider your strategy.
If implementing these insights sounds daunting or if you’re unsure about harnessing this data for your product, reach out. As your trusted food consultant, I’m here to guide, strategize, and help you soar with consumers and shoppers.
“Hi I’m Tim, and I love the food business! I’ve been helping large and small companies and entrepreneurs achieve success for decades. My consulting projects have contributed to major successes for my clients, including many with 100%+ year-over-year growth rates. I enjoy sharing my expertise, and hope you find these blog posts enlightening. Please reach out to me with any questions or comments.”
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