What can landscape mulch producers learn from spaghetti sauce? A lot, if you’re focused on customer satisfaction as a business growth strategy.
In the early 1980s, Prego® had one type of spaghetti sauce. The brand was struggling to gain market share from the dominant Ragu®, even though consumers tended to view Prego as a higher quality sauce. Then Prego brought in a market researcher, Howard Moskowitz, who is now well known for his breakthroughs in the study of consumer satisfaction.
Moskowitz conducted studies on consumer preferences and found that a certain percentage of the population preferred spaghetti sauce with chunky vegetables, something that had never occurred to any of the big food companies. Moskowitz made this discovery by making sauces with small adjustments to every conceivable variable, from acidity level to texture, and asking taste testers to rate the different sauces.
The Power of Choice
Within the first ten years, chunky Prego accounted for a large share of a newly invigorated product line. All told, Prego would produce 45 varieties of sauce following Moskowitz’s findings. Even those who preferred the traditional style of sauce were happier because they had choices. Today, Prego owes its success (maybe even its continued existence on super market shelves) to the diversification of its product line. The power of choice was a true revolution in the food industry.
Premium mulch producers learned this lesson early on. A diverse product offering is necessary for success in today’s mulch market—multiple colors, multiple fiber types, multiple fiber sizes, multiple product delivery methods (bagged vs bulk). In simple terms, it’s giving customers what they want—sometimes before they know they want it.
Superior quality is important but not enough. The availability of 44 additional sauces on the shelf makes the consumer happier with the sauce on the plate. Across my territory of the Mid-Atlantic USA, gold and red are considerably less popular than black and brown mulch. Yet customers are happier to pick black or brown when red, gold, and other varieties are available.
Diversifying Outputs and Inputs
This goal of product diversification brings a less obvious and more challenging goal—diversification of fiber sources and production means. Specifically, if you want to deliver a diverse product offering, you need to be agile in your grinding operation, able to switch raw materials quickly and easily, all without sacrificing quality.
So, if you are looking to accelerate your growth in the mulch business, start by asking yourself: What are you doing to diversify, not only your output of products but your whole mulch operation? How are you diversifying your raw materials?
How can we help?
Contact your regional factory-direct Rotochopper sales representative to start developing strategies for diversifying your landscape mulch business.