Hello and good day!
There is a funny quote about advertising that I think came from Mark Twain, but I'm not 100% sure where I heard it. It says you can tell the shopkeepers who don't spend money on advertising.
They're the ones with spiderwebs on their door joints.
Here at Fortunato Chocolate, we believe in advertising. Good marketing is an important part of any sustainable business.
In our case, it takes on even greater significance because of our long-term commitment to buying only one variety of cacao direct from a small farming community in northern Peru. It is essential that we grow our business at around 15% per year so that we can support the annual increase in the cacao crop.
For almost 15 years, we've been encouraging cacao farmers to switch from industrial hybrids to the Pure Nacional variety that grows naturally in the region. Hundreds of farm families have bought in and that is why the crop continues to grow.
Less than 15% per year and we'll run out of chocolate.
If you've been our customer for a while, you know that the threat of us running out of chocolate is real. We have a long and delicate supply chain. Any disruption in our logistics, teamed up with an unexpected surge in demand, can run us out of chocolate quickly.
So, we don't go overboard on the marketing. We try to fine tune it. But it is an important part of our business. For the last two and a half years, our entire marketing budget has been spent on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and Google. And it has worked very well for us.
A lot of people have beefs with social media and big tech companies.I understand where those folks are coming from. I've never personally been too riled up about it. My take has always been that cell phones are the new TV.
Most of what people do on them is entertainment, same as staring at the boob tube. I think we'd all agree that watching TV in moderation is a good way to unwind, but that doing it excessively is probably not a good thing. It is a passive activity that doesn't help your brain create neuroplasticity. It keeps you indoors and away from other people.
I personally threw away my TV something like 15 years ago and haven't regretted it. My wife and I watch a movie together at night on a tablet for 15 - 30 minutes before going to bed and that is about it.
Using the TV analogy, nowadays people have a TV in their pocket and they are watching it all the time. Social media is certainly good for sharing information and photos and thoughts. Like TV, using it as a source of entertainment in moderation is probably just fine.
But the fact that it is on your phone in your pocket makes it very hard to moderate. As to all the political manipulation, I didn't really follow it, so I'm not qualified to comment.
Anyhow, we've made the decision to cease all of our spending with Meta and Google. We aren't doing it as a protest against these companies. Protesting isn't the reason we are in business.
We're in the business of making great chocolate, serving our customers, and supporting our cacao farm partners. When we see an opportunity to do that more thoroughly, we won't pass it up. That is the moral basis for our decisions, doing right by the people who matter most to us.
In this case, we have an excellent chance to vastly improve our value proposition. By forgoing our current methods of marketing, we free up a budget line item to spend in a different way.
And that is where our new word of mouth program comes in. We've earmarked 12% of sales to new customers for marketing. We'd rather give that to you and our cacao farm partners than Facebook and Google.
Here is how the program works. There is a link below. If you click on it, you will be taken to a page with applications. There are two applications.
One is for a 6% / 6% split. You'll get 6% of each sale you generate, and we'll earmark an additional 6% to send to the cacao growers association of the district of Huarango in your name.
The second application is to send the entire 12% down to the cacao growers association of the district of Huarango.
Either way is fine for us.
I like the idea of our wonderful customers having a little walking around money just fine. I like it much better than that same money going into the bank account of some huge corporation. From here on out, I will send out an email each month telling you all the total amount that we've sent down for school supplies, medicine, emergency relief, and other community improvements in Peru.
We'll get photos of the folks who are receiving the money so you can be kept up to date. One of the great joys of owning a small family business is that we get to do whatever we want.
There is no board of directors here to stop us. We can make the products we want. We can manage our profits how we darn well please. And we can roll out new programs whenever we believe it serves our purpose.
Case in point. This idea hit me while hiking through the Andes mountains 23 days ago. Our wonderful tech manager Zach Nelson put everything in place. We did a few tests and now we're live.
We'll work out the kinks for a week or so and then our plan is to take all of our advertising down to zero. if this works you won't ever see another sponsored post from our company again. We'll be completely dependent on our customers telling people about us.
This puts pressure on us to do a very good job. We have to be good enough to be worth telling somebody about. If not, we're going to be dead in the water.
We look forward to the challenge! To participate in the new word of mouth program, click the link below and submit the application.
The whole process is extremely simple.It takes about 15 seconds.
One last thing before signing off. It is getting hot all over the place, so this might not have been the best time to get the program up and running. This is a long-term decision for us.
We wanted to launch the program before losing momentum and we understand that there may not be much activity until the fall.
We'll have our new nut butters coming out soon as well, and those will be good warm weather products.
Anyhow, thank you so, so much for your time today and we look forward to working with you. I hope that you have a truly blessed day!
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