An economics lecturer back in the day, once told me, “don’t sell the sausage, sell the sizzle.” How wise these words proved to be. While our new wired world makes the market for our goods and services many multiples bigger, it also dilutes our influence.
Let me explain it another way. In the previous business model the market was smaller, but so was the competition. Nowadays, if you cannot somehow differentiate yourself, your products or services, no matter how good, will not sell.
How then does that affect Aquaponics? Well, in one way it is good because Aquaponics, being a rather new and novel way of growing fish and vegetable crops, does in fact differentiate us from the other struggling vegetable farmers and aquaculturists. But this “difference” is also a double-edged sword because the ordinary man in the street has no idea whatsoever what Aquaponics actually means.
So what then is the “sizzle” of Aquaponics? How about, “better than organic”, “space-age food production”, “the future of food production” or some other catchy byline?
One of the basics of scaling up to Commercial Aquaponics, as I have said so may times, is a rock-solid marketing campaign. Don’t even start thinking about the technical or even financial aspects of your new system without first considering the following;
- Is there a market for my products?
- Where are my potential customers?
- What are they willing to pay?
- Why would they choose me over so many other vendors?
Although you are unlikely to get firm orders without a salable product, this short exercise will keep you grounded when you tackle the other elements of your system design.
As mentioned in a previous post, I have been hard at work on a number of online initiatives, one of which is a Classified Site called landbou.net. This site is specifically targeted at the agricultural sector (landbou meaning agriculture in Afrikaans) and provides a market place for buying and selling products and services relating to farming. Advertisements are free and I have created categories for both fish and vegetables.
Please feel free to register and start placing some ads. It is currently aimed at Southern African countries but if the demand is there, I would be glad to extend it to other countries.
Enough for now.