Blog Post

You’re totally fighting for less time, totally.


This is Part 1 in a 4 part series I’ve been working on since the NAFDMA convention (that’s North American Farmers Direct Marketing Assoc. or in an effort to encapsulate and explore all the ideas I uncovered and make them useful.

This blog series is meant to be responsive and interactive, so please, when I ask seemingly rhetorical questions or really hard questions at the end of each, take up the challenge and answer back by email! I want you to be disturbed by these questions, to shock your brain into a creative mode. Hope you enjoy!

You’re totally fighting for less time, totally.

Hey Gang,

I’m going to obsess a bit over Randy White’s presentation “Value 2.0” as I think it was the most thought-provoking of the conference. This is high-level thinking stuff, you’ll have to find your own actions to take, but the trends are the meat; the stuff you can sink your mental teeth into.

You’re totally fighting for less time, totally. In any business, you consider your competitors. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll remember that I, in fact, tell you to ignore your competitors as each of us has so much to work on in our own business that we shouldn’t spare a single moment considering someone else’s business – Let alone reacting to our assumptions about it.

But, what if you’ve been competing against a much larger foe all this time? Randy proposes that the growing enemy is time itself. He sites an American Time Use study indicating that, in total, Americans are spending 10% LESS time outside of the house.

Let’s reiterate, you are fighting for the attention of an audience that is dedicating 10% less time in total on entertainment outside of the house. You are targeting a shrinking market of time.

You’re totally fighting for less time, totally. Why? Being in the house is so awesome! Netflix, 4K TVs, and Uber Eats delivering food from ANY restaurant certainly reduces your need to leave the cozy confines of your home.

Randy argues that the consumer choice continuum vacillates between “high convenience” and “high fidelity”, or high quality, experience. You either make your products and services more convenient, or you make them better; specifically better than people can get at home.

How does this sit with you? Do you think your farm is safe? Haven’t we argued for years that apples in the grocery store don’t taste like apples from the tree, yet grocery stores continue to be in the produce business due to convenience! Amazon & Wal-Mart are tripping over each other to make grocery shopping a phone-to-delivery seamless, near-instant experience.

How do we compete with that? With every farm adding an apple orchard, corn maze, and barrel train, are we slipping from innovative to commodity experience?

How are you dealing with this treadmill of innovation and experience creation?

John Schallert, whose Destination Bootcamp is well worth the investment of time and travel, is a proponent of figuring out “What is the ONE thing that you are the ONLY place in the city, county, country, or world where a guest can see/taste/smell/experience it?”

What is your ONE thing? Do you have one? How will you deal with this question in 2019?

Email me an let me know. I’m curious as we are wrestling with these issues, too. I won’t share your responses without asking first, but I’m planning to collate them and analyze them to see if we, as an industry, have a shot at getting this right.

Have a (slightly disturbing) week and send me you thoughts,


PS Part 2 is “F&B, my faults laid bare.” Stay tuned.

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