Potato group shows target consumer’s diversity - The Packer

Potato group shows target consumer’s diversity

04/05/2013 10:18:00 AM
Kathleen Triou and Mike Carter

Kathleen Triou, U.S. Potato BoardKathleen Triou, U.S. Potato BoardIn response to “Potato marketers neglect consumer diversity," the U.S. Potato Board believes this was based on a misunderstanding of the actual facts and presentation.

We’d like to recap some essential points from the presentation.

The premise is the U.S. Potato Board is marketing only to blond-haired, blue-eyed, married women with children, living in suburbia — a “modernized June Cleaver.”

But “Linda” — the name we’ve assigned to represent the potato category’s target audience — is anything but. She comes from all backgrounds, ethnicities, regions and incomes.

Linda represents younger mothers, older mothers, working mothers, stay-at-home moms and just about every other kind of mom you can imagine.

Mike Carter, BushmansMike Carter, Bushmans' Inc.However, as diverse as she is — and make no mistake, she is diverse — we aren’t suggesting that Linda represents all possible potato purchasers. We’re suggesting she represents the largest immediate opportunity to drive long-term demand for potatoes.

This is the critical missing perspective. Every marketer (and especially those with limited resources) has to make choices.

The U.S. Potato Board has made the choice to “fish where the fish are,” which is a widely accepted practice for marketers executing on a budget.

For us, figuring out where the fish are, so to speak, was a matter of psychographics, not demographics. (Yes, Linda is 25-54 and has kids in the household. But that’s not the point.) Specifically, Linda was selected based on three things:


  • Linda was selected based on attitude — the way her feelings about cooking and food positively align with the equities of potatoes.


There’s a lot to be said about this. Linda enjoys cooking. She sees it as a way to nurture her family and show her love. She cooks for her family at least five days a week and prefers to use fresh foods.

She also enjoys experimenting with food and trying new recipes. Although Linda likes to experiment, she has a relatively traditional approach to cooking. She makes a lot of the same dishes that her mother did, but she adds her own modern flair.

Her family also greatly influences the brands and products she buys. These key attitudes are what position Linda to be the biggest immediate opportunity to drive demand for potatoes.

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