Here in the past few years, potatoes have gotten a bad rap, and it’s been showing on the bottom line of producers. Late last year, the United States Potato Board decided that an educational ad campaign was in order. Just like any other business, they need to know who their target customer is. The United States Potato Board has named their target customer 'Linda'.
Kate Thomson is Senior Research Manager with the Sterling Rice Group:
“Getting to know the audience, means getting to know your opportunities for increased consumption. We knew quite a bit about ‘Linda’ before, however in the past year we’ve done a ton of research to better understand who she is; how she thinks about cooking; what she thinks about dinner; and most importantly, how she thinks about potatoes.”
Thomson says the additional research has helped to refine who and what 'Linda' is:
“Beyond being just a woman with kids, which is how we defined ‘Linda’ before, she’s a woman with kids, who likes to cook, is good at cooking, enjoys looking for new recipes, she’s pretty food involved. She’s also pretty traditional, she’s also doing a lot of the same things her mom did when she was a kid, she’s buying a lot of the same brands. And her own family now, influences what she’s doing at the grocery store.”
By getting a better idea of who the target consumer or 'Linda' actually is - the USPB can better direct their marketing efforts to that person:
“We know that when she’s looking for foods for dinner, she’s looking for something her whole family likes, that above health and above convenience, is most important. In addition, she wants to feel good about what she’s serving, so, that’s not to say that health isn’t important at all but, we’re talking about sort of a prioritization here. First they’ve got to like it, then it’s got to be healthy, but not so specific about what’s healthy. Healthy to ‘Linda’ is fresh, and natural, and unprocessed.”
So not so specific to fiber content or vitamins and minerals. Finally, Thomson says there’s the idea of being able to get dinner on the table in a reasonable amount of time:
“That’s really important for most people. Important for ‘Linda’, but relatively less important. I mean, she’s having a lot of pretty traditional dinner situations in which you hear so much about people’s life styles changing, getting quicker, people being driven to more of these convenience oriented meal solutions. But, for ‘Linda’ still a good majority of her meals are these traditional sit-down dinners that she’s putting a good 45 minutes into preparing. And convenience is not the most important thing.”
Knowing that - Thomson says the industry can re-assess how they are talking to ‘Linda’ - and what they’re saying.