Georgia On My Mind

I don’t mean to frighten you, but I’ve got $45 worth of fresh peaches in the back seat of my car.

Is it because I love peaches? Not especially. I’m not even sure they’d make it onto my top three “All-Time Fruit” list.

Rather, it’s because the “Georgia Peach Truck” arrived today at our nearby garden center and my wife, Linda, asked me to go over and pick some up.

And, since the Georgia Peach Truck only sells peaches in increments of “crate,” I had little choice but to hand over $45 in exchange for what I’ve been told is approximately five dozen of these tasty treats.

And are they tasty? I really don’t know. The Georgia Peach Truck Man says they won’t ripen for another two days.

Let’s review what just happened… 

I gave $45 to a man I’ve never seen before, for more peaches than I typically buy in a year, for a product that I don’t particularly love. 

A product whose tastiness I can’t even verify for another two days, at which point Georgia Peach Truck Man will be halfway across the country should I have any objections. 

And (very important), despite all that, I’m quite happy with the transaction.

Marketing is Not About Empirical Truth 

In technical terms, my peach purchasing experience is what we highly-compensated marketing experts refer to as “good.” 

Also known as, “Things you do to make you and what you sell more valuable than objective reality might otherwise suggest.” 

Georgia Peach Truck Man put the following things into play, all of which made the transaction more satisfying and raised my willingness to participate: 

  1. Novelty. Anybody can buy peaches at the local supermarket. This guy is selling them out of the back of a 16-foot truck stacked floor to ceiling with crates. It was fun being a part of it.

  2. Scarcity. There’s no second truck and there’s no back room with more peaches coming. When the truck is empty, that’s it. As you stand there in line in front of the steadily dwindling supply, you are literally watching the opportunity slip away.

  3. Simple Specialization. He’s the Georgia Peach Truck Man. He’s not the “Southern States Fruit Vehicle Person” or, were he an employee of a typical professional services company, the “Organic Solution-Enabling Vitamin-Onboarder.” 

    He sells one product from one state. 

    But what if you don’t want to buy peaches from Georgia? That’s fine, walk away. 

    But if you do, can you imagine trying to compete with him? He moved into “Georgia Peach” first place the day he launched his business.

  4. Word of Mouth. There were at least 15 people in line with me, all of us standing in a hot parking lot, waiting for our chance to make a purchase. I overheard the two women in front of me talking about how they mark their calendars and meet the truck every year. 

    When what you offer is novel, scarce and specialized, people tend to talk about it.

So what’s all this peach talk mean to you? Maybe nothing. 

Maybe your prospective clients are rational, objective, price-is-all-that-matters shoppers. 

Maybe emotion and anticipation and urgency have nothing to do with how the people who hire you make decisions. 

If so, you have my sympathies – I prefer to work with humans. 

You know, the kind of creatures who happily pay $45 for a crate of who knows what, from who knows who, just because it feels right.


Discussion Questions:

  1. What’s on your top three “All-Time Fruit” list?
  2. What’s in the back seat of your car?
  3. What do you do to leverage novelty, scarcity and/or specialization in your business?

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18 thoughts on “Georgia On My Mind

  1. Dot Hodder

    Are you kidding me? If you don’t want your Georgia peaches @ $.75 each I’ll be glad to eat them! They are just the most delicious thing on the planet to a person born where they grow, which I was, and sadly living where people who don’t know any better try to tell me SC peaches are just as good.

    Reply
  2. Mark Heimberg

    [1] Top All-Time Fruits
    Admittedly, I am not much of a fruit eater. But, since I am on the spot, and have to choose… Raspberries, blueberries, and plums. But never together. Fruit salad is an affront to the sense, and depending on the ratios, everything tastes like oranges or grapefruit. Do berries count as a fruit? I once had a really bad reaction to the fuzz on peaches after a nice peach picking outing with my grandparents.

    [2] Back Seat of My Car
    I would prefer to say there is nothing in the backseat. But, in truth, there is a lonely Starbucks cold beverage cup, complete with evil plastic straw (sarcasm… there are greater threats to our environment). It’s there because my kids (18 and 15) are incapable of removing anything from the back seat of a car. Ever. They just can’t do it. So, the cup sits, because I only notice it on the rare occasion that I open the back door, and when I do, I tend to be nowhere near a recycling bin. I assume they come by this behavior honestly (genetically). When I was a senior in high school, I ate many meals in my car, heading to or from soccer practices and games, and our high school radio station. I was known to eat entire plates of spaghetti and red sauce while driving – don’t judge, it was a different time. At one point, my mother had had enough, and sent me out to bring in the dishes. There were about 5 plates, as many forks, a cereal bowl and spoon, and no less than 12 glasses. This mess might be why I prefer an empty back seat today.

    [3] Novelty, Scarcity, and Specialization
    I am a solo web development professional. “How novel,” you are no doubt thinking! There are only about 100,000 of us in New England alone, so you’re right. How do I make my services novel and scarce? I humanize the experience. Web technology has not gotten any simpler over the years, and there is no danger of that happening any time soon. I work to make the process of launching a new or improved website fun, entertaining, and comfortable for my customers. I remove the scary Internet speak from what I do, and tell stories and ask questions to get the customers to share their stories in clear and understandable language. I am not a “leading expert on the webification of complex business processes.” I am a guy who works with two dogs, and builds websites for people he enjoys working with. My specialty is making complex problems understandable to people who are no technical. And together, we build a solution that works for them, so they can tell their story to their customers.

    Reply
    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Great response, Mark, thank you for taking the time to write! (My favorite line: “don’t judge, it was a different time. “)

      Reply
  3. Nikki

    1-Raspberries, red plums, apricots
    2-5 half-chewed chewies, 2 naked tennis balls, 6 rolls of poop bags (you can never have enough), many sizes, colors, and activity oriented leashes, 2 extra towels, 2 gallons of water, 1 bowl, sanitary wipes, and usually 1-3 terriers wondering where we are going.
    3-We’ve identified the metropolitan areas that would most benefit from our services and emphasize the value of their time.

    Reply
    1. Michael Katz Post author

      Glad to know there are dogs involved in your back seat list. Otherwise, I was getting worried!

      Reply
  4. Sara Jane Lowry

    Fruits – love peaches, but on a low-carb diet, so only berries these days for me, especially raspberries!
    Backseat – it’s a truck, so behind the front seats are fluids (it’s an old truck), a fishing pole, and cloth grocery bags.
    I am a nonprofit consultant and coach, and executive coaching is very new in the nonprofit world!

    Reply
  5. Beverly Matoney

    1. Georgia peaches 🙂 Natives know their local fruit. Then nectarines and mangos.

    2. A Delta first-class kit someone gave me and a small first aid kit. Both for random emergencies.

    3. I’m a retired marketer-turned-homeschooler focused on the homeschool vendor marketing niche. I was a customer for 20 years, and I understand the product from both sides. Just attended a homeschool convention for the first time NOT dragging kids along and spent the whole time networking. So much fun.

    Reply
    1. Michael Katz Post author

      1. Ditto on the mangos
      2. What’s in a “Delta first-class kit?” Champagne and booties, just in case?
      3. Cool!

      Reply
  6. Bruce Horwitz

    Michael – Nice story, as usual, but let’s get real… you bought the peaches because Linda told you to…AND she told you to because most peaches in the market are, well, how to put it nicely, hmm, is this a family column? well, they’re not very good because they’ve been picked too early, hybridized for looks, etc. and, to really kill them, refrigerated before they are ripe, which makes them mealy.

    Mr. Peach, most surely, is bringing them to you direct from a farm and has properly cared for them along the way. I bet they are delicious.

    Reply
  7. Ellen Rubin

    Why do I like nectarines more than peaches (aside from that weird fuzz/tactile thing) and why don’t you find canned nectarines. I know the two fruits are related and taste close to each other, but I have definite preferences. Am I alone?

    Reply
    1. Bruce Horwitz

      I guess you like nectarines better than peaches for the same reason I prefer peaches ;^), namely the flavor., While nectarines are peaches in which a recessive gene is in play, eliminating the fuzz, I think they test different. Apparently, if you let a peach tree self-pollenate you will get both peaches and nectarines!

      I think there is a flavor difference in the nectarines in the market since the growers have selected particular varieties of nectarine, which presumably are different from the varieties selected for peaches (none of which are as good as the varieties a local Georgia grower would have).

      Reply
  8. Michael Hume

    Hi Michael… another triumph! I was intrigued to notice that the elements of Georgia Peach Truck Man’s offering align pretty well with the elements a pro copywriter uses for a headline (when they are on their game): Unique, Urgent, Useful, and Ultra-Specific.

    I’d assert that the peaches are most useful to you in that they enabled you to comply with orders from Colonel Wife.

    The Likeable Expert Gazette is a Lovable Expert eNewsletter!

    Reply

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