April 12, 2018
For locals and tourists alike, Driediger Farms Market offers an irresistible Fraser Valley destination, with an abundance of fresh and frozen berries, a bounty of BC products from other local purveyors, and events and U-Pick fields for day-at-the-farm fun.
While the Farm has already helped propel several BC businesses into another phase of growth, Rhonda Driediger felt they could do more and decided to extend their marketing efforts to a broader customer base.
With better roadway signage and a combination of print, radio, online and TV advertising, the Driedigers launched their “local BC all under one roof” campaign closer to the Vancouver region, as well as the Chinese- and Japanese-speaking communities (the former representing one of the fastest growing populations in BC).
According to Rhonda, communicating with their guests in their preferred language represents a significant milestone.
“Marketing directly to the Asian community is new to the Fraser Valley farming industry,” she explains, noting that this demographic represents a large number of BC residents that had little to no communication of the buy local message.”
In less than a year, it was clear that this had changed as both English- and Mandarin-speaking visitors flocked to the farm in record numbers.
“Our 2016 market season saw unprecedented sales results not only in revenue but in product volumes,” reports Rhonda, adding that project results in 2017 were almost equally impressive, despite crop loss due to poor weather.
In addition to revenue spikes in both the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Rhonda was thrilled to see the number of visitors to their Summer Festival grow by over 1,500, as well as a surge of Facebook likes to the tune of 22,000 and counting, and an expansion of value chain partners.
For Rhonda, the ripple effect extending to other agri-businesses is a testament not just to the project’s success, but to a key tenet of the buy local movement—maximizing benefits across the value chain.
“Because of the increase in traffic and sales, we’ve been able to expand our product assortment and add 11 new vendors at the market,” she explains. “Now that we’re a recognized brand within the community we’re able to increase exposure and sales for more BC products, including from more remote areas of the province.”
Part of that exposure is through in-store signage that features free advertising for their vendors with detailed information about the specific farms and manufacturers sold under the Driediger umbrella.
And with growing numbers of locavore converts, Rhonda is finding that public support is leveraging these efforts beyond all expectations, with visitors increasingly engaging online and tweeting and posting pictures of themselves with the Driediger signs on social media.
“The increase in visitors not just from the Asian community but from outside the Fraser Valley is proof of this campaign’s success,” she declares. “We are now the go-to spot for easy access to a diverse collection of premium BC products.”
Funding: $44,021 provided by the BC Government. (BL224)