Finding new customers using MarketMaker

MarketMaker is a powerful tool that can help you identify potential customers and develop a distribution program for your value added products.

MarketMaker is a web-based resource that provides a link between producers, processors, wholesalers, retailers, restaurateurs, farmers’ markets, food service providers and end consumers in the food supply chain. The purpose of MarketMaker is to link customers interested in food products to the producers of those products. MI MarketMaker was introduced to assist Michigan’s agri-food businesses in improving market penetration. How can MI MarketMaker do this?

Most MI MarketMaker users view it as a listing of farmers, retailers, processors, distributors, restaurants, wineries and other food businesses with an extensive database of crops or products and attributes of those products. However MarketMaker is much more than that. The database includes detailed demographic and consumption information from the U.S. Census that allows a savvy marketer to create a list of potential customers down to a neighborhood level. Here is how to do it.

  • Go to the MI MarketMaker website.
  • Click on the Search button in the menu at the top of the page.
  • Click on the Market Research tab.
  • If you have done your market research, you likely know the demographics of the consumers who are most likely to buy your product. Select from the drop down menu the following type of demographic variable that meets your customer profile:

o       Age
o       Household Type
o       Race
o       Income
o       Education
o       Foreign Born
o       Food Preferences

  • Next select the Subtype for your demographic profile. For example, it might be an age range if you selected Age for your demographic variable, income range for Income, etc. Food Preferences provides wide range of choices such as Average Meat at Home Expenditures or any of the twenty other options.
  • Next select the scope of your search. Your choices are State or County. If you have a specific city in mind and know the county where it is located, select that county. Otherwise select State. You can also select other states that are in the MarketMaker system.
  • Click on Map it!
  • The map allows you to see areas where the population meets your demographic profile with darker colors indicating more dense populations meeting your profile. However you are probably interested in a specific city.
  • To the right of the map, look for the Search By: and select City in MI from the dropdown menu.
  • Select your target city from the list of cities, and then click on Apply.
  • Click on Business Search in the banner above the map, then on Begin New Business Search.
  • Create the profile of your target customer, such as Food Retailer or Eating & Drinking Places. You can refine the profile by selecting the business attributes from the dropdown menu. You will generate a list of all businesses that meet your customer profile as well as show their locations on the map for your target city.
  • Click on the business name to go the profile of that business, including address, phone number, contact (if available), and business details such as sales and number of employees.

A video demonstrating finding a market on MI MarketMaker, can be found here.

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