What's Behind a Successful Ad Campaign? A Look at What “Local” Really Means for the Columbia Farmers Market

We love working with local businesses and organizations right here in beautiful Columbia, MO – and partnering with the Columbia Farmers Market has been an awesome opportunity.

We beat out competitors to land a contract calling for a powerful ad campaign to promote CFM – and it's been an AWESOME opportunity to showcase our strength in original creative strategy – by creating a high-quality, effective advertising campaign that kicks butt. 👊🏻

Here's the big reveal!

Check out our original advertising for the Columbia Farmers Market –>


1. Strategy is where it starts

CFM's previous agency created their last campaign – "Food From Home." This was intended to communicate the fact that all products at CFM are produced within a 50-mile radius of Columbia, MO.

That's a huge point of difference for CFM compared to other local markets around the nation: various definitions of "local" food can include areas of a 400-mile radius – just check out some of the USDA info on what "local" means. Local? From 400 miles away?! 

Where the past "Food from Home" campaign falls short is in its mistake of focusing on the basic what of the farmers' market – stopping at the basic good they offer: food – instead of clearly tapping into the values, feelings, and motivations of the target audience from the get-go.

I cannot stress that enough.

All successful ad campaigns must pinpoint the target audience, not simply focus on the product itself.

In order to effectively target that audience, marketing must tap into that audience's essential, personal motivations with concrete messaging – rather than starting out with an ambiguous message that's not targeted toward speaking to an audience's motivations. Food from home? Like my personal home? Or, like, your home? What home are you talking about? Like those mashed potatoes my grandma always makes with sour cream?

Because, seriously, "Food from Home" taps into my memories of unpleasant casseroles. For another person, "Food from Home" queues up an entirely different set of thoughts and memories – and in all cases (at least in our test groups), none of those initial responses were to think of wholesome, farmer-grown produce. And, unfortunately, missing the mark in that initial message leads to a disconnect with "Food from Home" motivating an audience toward any clear action. 

We took a different approach.

Our campaign reaches beyond the basic what the farmer's market offers to tap into the feelings that motivate CFM's target audience to support the farmers' market. Our focus?

Local Means.

The core of our campaign is explaining what "local" really means – and not just in miles or numbers. What does local really mean for our community? For one farmer? For our kids, for your own child? For the future of mid-Missouri?

Advertising, marketing in Columbia, MO | Hoot Design Co.

What "local" really means reaches way deeper than just some stats on distance.

Buying from local farmers and producers means keeping extraordinary amounts of money right here, in our area.

Local means inspiring today's youth right here in mid-Missouri to see value in the traditions of agriculture that surround us.

Local means creating opportunities for our neighbors, and putting food in the mouths of our families.

Local means learning that the earth right beneath your feet is capable of growing new life – and tying our community together.



2. Original art direction

Local means growing our community – and to highlight that fact, we needed great original photography of real mid-Missouri families in their element at CFM and on family farms.

We worked with our fave guy, Drew Piester, to capture real Columbia, MO families enjoying the Columbia Farmers Market in a beautifully clear, crisp photojournalistic style. Capturing high-quality photos on-location makes a HUGE difference in bringing authentic, honest ad campaigns to life. And this campaign was no exception.

[Related: Why professional photography matters – big time]



3. Print Materials

Print is the OG marketing medium. And as much as we love social media marketing, we've gotta say, print's not dead. Especially in an awareness campaign focused on the local community coming together, distributing print ads around town has been a fitting and effective way to spread the word.


Posters: Local Means...

Posters: SNAP and WIC Match Programs



4. Social Media Marketing

Digital marketing allows you to reach your target audience with exceptional precision – and allows you to share your message in an organic way that grows and grows as your audience becomes engaged. (IF you do it right, that is!)

Beyond print materials, we've created social media campaigns for Columbia Farmers Market to run on their Facebook page and pull for their Instagram account. These focus on the same emotional pull that local has and use concrete examples of CFM activities and local farms in order to tap into audience values.


So what's really behind a successful ad campaign?

The answer: it's dynamic and multifaceted. It starts with a deep understanding of your audience's motivations. Knowing their desires, feelings, fears, and ideal lives. Bringing the values of a brand together with a strategic overview to get your message to the people you need to reach, in the manner that's best suited to reach them.

Working with the Columbia Farmers Market has been an incredible opportunity to broaden our horizons, push our skills, and grow out of our comfort zone while connecting with the community we love.

You can connect with CFM on their website, Facebook page, Instagram, and get regular news and updates through their email list. If you're in the mid-MO area, come turn out for weekly markets Thursdays and Saturdays May through October, and winter markets on Saturday mornings from December through March.

What do you think of our ad work? And what does local mean to you? Let us know by leaving a comment below or connecting with us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

– 💖 💖 💖, HDco.

Hoot Design Co. is a marketing, branding, and design agency located in Columbia, MO. We specialize in creating a custom and comprehensive marketing strategy centered around your business's unique strengths and educating you with the tools you need from day one. From logo design to brand identity, website design and execution, and social media marketing strategies in-person and through online courseswe're focused on your business success every step of the way.