Once upon a time, supermarkets like ShopRite and Foodtown would run local commercials reminding viewers at home that they, too, could “can-can” down the canned food aisle for a good deal. But with the shift to digital marketing (and the popularity of chains like Trader Joe’s), how do local grocers remind their communities that they exist?
Well, they advertise. And in a very novel medium: print.
Enter: Harvesting Media, a digital marketing agency catering to independent, often family-owned grocery stores. It started in 2017 and now helps about 20 different clients, like Key Food, navigate this brave new world.
While print is still dying, in the grocery game, it’s dying at a slower pace. The industry still relies on the print circular (newspapers that emphasize deals on spiral hams and buy-one-get-one Jell-O) to get the word out, according to Harvesting Media CEO Eli Langer.
The hardest part of the job? “Honestly, educating an industry that’s hundreds of years old on a new advertising medium.”
Harvesting’s job involves transitioning those advertising budgets—which range from about $250,000 to $500,000 a year, if a client owns two or three stores—into the digital world. Supermarkets’ profit margins are notoriously razor thin, so those dollars need to stretch.
“They’re in the business of buying apples and selling apples,” Langer said. “They’re not thinking, ‘How can we run a targeted ad campaign?’”
Where are they putting those dollars?…