Scott Hodge


Wholistic Marketing

Jul 12, 2005

Being the food freak-a-zoid that I am…     Wait.  I don’t like that. Let me start over.

Being the food connoisseur that I am (that’s better…), I have found a handful of grocery stores over the years that I really enjoy shopping at.  In Minneapolis, it was Byerly’sHarry’s Farmers Market in Atlanta was a nice visit on a couple of occasions while visiting (their selection and variety was outstanding.) 

Here in Chicago, Whole Foods gets my vote as #1.  (And interestingly enough, as I searched for Harry’s link, I learned that they are actually now owned by Whole Foods.)

With all of that said, I’m linking to an article about the marketing side of Whole Foods that I found not only interesting, but extremely applicable to just about any organization. 

The "jist" of the article is that Whole Foods doesn’t rely on traditional marketing to spread their message.  Instead, they rely on WOM (word of mouth) and the creation of a food "experience" for their shoppers. 

A few snippets from the article:

While other food retailers spend heavily to draw shoppers, Whole Foods counts on its brand, its reputation and targeted community efforts to bring in customers.

The company didn’t begin with a deliberate strategy of not relying on advertising.
"In the beginning, we couldn’t afford advertising," said Walter Robb, Whole Foods’ co-president. "We did lots of (advertising) experiments. They didn’t work, didn’t deliver results."

"We market from the inside out," Robb said. "Everything has to resonate. If you start with a flier and the store is not the same, it builds mistrust. If you go into (a Whole Foods) store, you can see brand."

"Being involved in a very deep and authentic way in our communities helps to create word of mouth," said Nona Evans, marketing coordinator for the Southwest region.
Word of mouth can be more powerful than traditional advertising for younger people, who respond better to recommendations from friends and mentions by celebrities, said Gay Gaddis, founder of the T3 advertising agency in Austin.
"Gen X and Gen Y like to discover their own stuff," she said. "Those are the kinds of things that are really gaining traction. And Gen X and Y feels it is more sincere."

Wow, so many ways to tie this in with our churches, companies, etc…  For us at The Orchard, our primary factor in growth has undoubtably been word of mouth.  For one, we’ve never been able to afford much mass marketing and secondly, our people are doing an excellent job of sharing their stories and experiences. 

What about your church, business, organization?

Thanks to John Moore @ Brand Autopsy for the link (and great quotes in the article btw…)

3 Responses to “Wholistic Marketing”

  1. Jonathan says:

    Totally agree! I work with high school students who meet in an old, renovated stripmall. The part about Gen Y “discovering” totally applies in my setting – that’s been the key to students bringing their friends out.

  2. Todd Ruth says:

    Great article! And there’s nothing better than stories from people who get it and love it.

  3. Scott, you have been coming up with some pretty cool stuff lately. Where did you find that article? There is so much in there for churches and church leaders to chew on. Way to go. Keep it up.

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