I’m in the process of becoming a partner in an aeroponics company called Tower Harvest; I’ll have a video up on this shortly. I’m thrilled for the association with these people, in particular with CEO Rafael Quezada; he’s incredibly knowledgeable in this arena, and deeply committed to locally grown, organic, high-yield, yet low-cost farming.
When I think about how to address the business challenges the company faces, I’m reminded of a great number of experiences I’ve had over the last 30 years as a marketing consultant in which my clients had products or services in emerging categories. The quandary is this: How do we avoid spending our resources promoting the category, but rather allocating them to promoting our specific solution within that category?
It’s true that most people don’t know that aeroponics offers all these wonderful benefits. But does it lie on our shoulders to address that ignorance? Maybe you can take on that role if you’re Apple Computer, and you’re going to own the category once it’s established. But we certainly don’t have the resources to pull something like that off. And even if we did, I’m not sure we’d want to. We’re really not looking for dominating this arena; we’d actually like this area to grow far faster than our ability to keep up with it.
I recall a project for a company that imports high-end silk bedding. Investors were reluctant to back them, because they claimed that the high-end bedding market was too small. I told them, “That’s true, but I’ll be repositioning this, not as bedding, but as a health and beauty aid, as there’s ample evidence that silk is good for the hair, skin, and overall wellbeing. And trust me, there’s nothing small about the health and beauty aid market.” But while they admitted that this was a clever idea, and one that someone, somewhere, should do, they replied: “You think you’re going to spend our money to reposition the whole concept of silk bedding? Forget it.”
I see the point.
Yet, if this is going to happen, someone’s got to go first. Having said that, with social media, things can change fast, and they can change hard. A particularly poignant or clever YouTube video can get 70 million views in a week. It can be done.
I’ll keep you posted.