Marketing the market

Four years ago I joined the market as a volunteer. They were looking for design and marketing help. I was looking for a way to volunteer in my neighborhood. Being my day job was advertising, it was a perfect match.

So how do you market a market? Any good marketing plan has to have three things. First a great product, second an engaged community, and third great people behind it. If you’ve visited either the Kingfield or the Fulton market you’ll quickly be taken in by the delicate smells wafting into the air and the perfect balance of treats, coffee, fresh veggies and ready to devour foods. We’re often told it’s the little market with everything I need.

Our community continues to grow with open arms. We’ve had more  volunteers this past season then ever before. Our young families looking for fresh food. Our longtime friends who love to tell us stories of the early years. Yes, just a truck and some produce are how it all started.

But lastly it’s the people. First our sponsors. Julene and Steve at Ace Nicollet Hardware who have been our premiere sponsor for four years running. They believed in the market so much they chased one of our board members down after a meeting to asking if they could help in any way.

France 44 and Linden Hills Co-op also saw very early on that this community gem was something special. And most recently Quality Coaches, Edina Grill, Broders’, Ted Teeple and Larry LaVercombe of Remax, and Jardin Magico have all committed to making our markets even better.

Yes those were plugs for all of you reading. Because without these generous people your markets couldn’t exist.

There’s a part two, the volunteers. After four years I call them friends, you might call them your neighborhoods best friends. These are the people who every weekend morning arrive early to set-up the market. The friends who’ve gone out of their comfort zones to ask for financial support to the market. Friends who spend evenings away from families picking the perfect vendors for our markets. And friends, who see how a market connects them to so much more then just food.

So how do you market a market? Put down this paper. Step out your front door and visit either of our markets. Job done.

Jeff Berg lives in the Kingfield neighborhood with his lovely wife, three amazing kids and dog. His mentioned day job is Creative Director at OLSON in downtown Minneapolis.