Conduct Your Own Market Research, Pumpkin

Conduct Your Own Market Research

Exploring my branding curiosity in everyday life

I think about topics like how brand messages are delivered, since I am a self-proclaimed marketing nerd. On college campuses, I stroll through the bookstore aisles, performing my own market research. What logo’ed items are available? Oooh… who needs a university tape measure? How about a college dog collar? Napkins, hand towels, even coffins (available online in most cases) have been officially licensed for your purchasing pleasure. These trips are my own market research adventures and inspire my interest into how consumable products can be branded.

Pumpkins are currently under my research magnifying glass. They are the chameleon of the gourd family – use it in a soup, use it as a soup vessel, use it as decor, team it with other warm flavors and you’ve got your own personal portable Fall celebration. They’ve recently become the “it” Fall food brand, so wanting to learn more about how many ways it is being used. I embarked on a quick market research opportunity, using the most recent Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer.

A cartoon appearing in September 25, 2017 Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer
A cartoon appearing in September 25, 2017 Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer

I admire TJ’s quality & pricing models, shop-ability, sense of humor (see cartoon on right), so I examined at how many different ways one simple gourd could be packaged, promoted and part of other food products that are only sold this time of year.

My observations:

  • 52% of the items highlighted in the September 25,2017 Fearless Flyer contained pumpkin, pumpkin spice or “harvest” in their title (45 out of 86).
  • Every food category included at least one pumpkin item –  except Bakery. Pumpkin flavored bakery items weren’t highlighted in the flyer, but I know for a fact you can purchase pumpkin muffins this time of year.
  • Edible items topped the list, but household items (Vanilla Pumpkin candle), Beer (Kennebunkport Brewing Co. Pumpkin Ale) and dog treats are also available.
  • This Fearless Flyer only highlighted a portion of the pumpkin paraphernalia. For some reason, items like Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pumpkin Butter and Pumpkin-y Pumpkin Bites are on the shelves, but weren’t included in this week’s brochure

Please participate in my market research. What are your favorite pumpkin/ harvest consumable items?