Marketing … the art of being “Steered”

Greetings Carnivores,

Do you know that big Swedish box store ?? The one adorned with a bright Blue and Yellow paint scheme to honour their national flag ?? You know the one … it starts with an “I” and ends with an “A” with a “K” and an “E” in the middle ??? (spell it out folks, IKEA … which, I’ve come to learn is actually Swedish for divorce!!) 🙂

Kidding aside, if you’ve ever shopped there you’ll know how once you’re inside the “maze”, you’re pretty much FORCED to ‘follow’ the arrows on the floor in order to get out. It doesn’t matter if you pick up the first thing you see, or run in there for light bulbs and a one dollar hot dog in the cafeteria.

Just like cattle being herded, you’re swept along by a ebbing tide of humanity through every corner of the store, and if you try to return to the front door, you’ll find that task about as daunting as a spawning Salmon trying to make it back upstream to the place of his/her birth.

While in University I was fascinated by the work of (click here:) B.F. Skinner, an American psychologist who believed in the idea that human free will was actually an illusion. He believed stimulus and response are the driving factors in human behaviour and as such, people can be manipulated to do something by stimulation and reward.

Do you know that fully 61% of all people who shop at IKEA, ultimately end up leaving with something they did NOT expect to buy?

Of course, I’m not spilling secrets … any 1st year University marketing student knows that. Folks, this is just simply a cold hard truth about retail marketing, and not many marketers do it better than that big, Blue and Yellow Swedish box.

Oh, they ALL do it and believe me, like the big Blue and Yellow Box … some do it MUCH better than others.  Have you ever been into a a big “Club” store, found something you didn’t go in for and, think to yourself … “hmmmm, … I’d like to have that but, I’ll get it later”, only to go back another time, and find it gone for the season with NO reasonable expectation it will return to the sales floor next year.

They keep you guessing all the time and the next thing you know …  WHAMO !! IMPULSE BUY.

The reason displays are CONSTANTLY changing on the retail floor is … yup, you guessed it … to keep you moving through the store. Have you ever wondered why there’s no express line at those big “Club” stores?? The answer, quite simply is …


When you wander though a store, make no mistake … your buying experience is being ‘directed’.

Staples … what are food “staples”?

Bread, milk and eggs  MAY be what you came in for but … have you noticed the big display of cookies, beside the milk, the chocolate syrup beside the iced cream or the steak spice and BBQ sauce beside the meat counter?

Impulse items.

Vendors pay a HUGE premium to have their products predominantly displayed on the end-cap and forget about the “wall” of merchandise you have to walk past as you first enter the store … THOSE vendors pay HUGE for a slot on the “fence”, and you my friends have to run the “gauntlet”

Anyway … once again I’ve gotten carried away telling a story so I’ll tie this back into meat.

You too are being ‘steered’ (did you like my pun??) through the meat counter, but in a very helpful way. The meat business is exactly the same. Not many people come into a store knowing EXACTLY what they want, and that’s where we come in. There will always be a smiling, helpful butcher. You ask us questions, … we reply with questions of our own. You ask us to make a suggestion, and we start by asking the obvious general questions:

Are you looking for a steak or a roast? Ahhh … a roast.

What type of roast were you looking for? Don’t know ??

Ok,  how were you planning to cook it? Ahhh, … the BBQ.

How many people are you planning to feed? 15?

Ok, how much money would you like to spend? $100.00.

Let’s see …

I usually start with a little education, for example: through the questions I’ve asked and the answers you’ve given, I know you want to roast something on the BBQ. Whether it’s going to be spit roasted or cooked with indirect heat doesn’t matter because, we’ve just ruled out a roast from the Chuck portion of the front quarter. Don’t get me wrong … I LOVE Chuck (Blade, Short Rib, Cross Cut or Arm roasts) … just NOT dry roasted on the BBQ.

More about these in another post to come but for now, Chuck roasts are more suited to long slow cook times that render their fat, sinew and collagen wonderfully soft and chew-able, hence the designation “Pot Roast”.

Before I get a note from my blogging friends (click here:) The Patrons of the Pit, and (click here:) Chef Jeff Parker saying that you CAN actually cook these roasts on the BBQ … you’d just have to do it covered, low and slow.

Alright, … because of the way you want to cook it, I can provide you with suggestions as to what to buy. You have also told me how many people you’re feeding AND how much you’re prepared to spend.

Back to the education part.

Next, I’ll tell you that the tenderness of ANY muscle is ultimately determined by HOW MUCH WORK IT DOES IN LIFE such as: the Loin muscles (Rib, Strip, Tenderloin and Sirloin) are more tender than the Leg muscles (Eye of Round, Outside Round,Inside Round and Sirloin Tip).

The leg muscles will still give you a nice roast but because these muscles are used for support and mobility, they are TOUGHER than the Loin. The loin muscles don’t do much work which equals … a more tender roast.

You can read more on this topic in a post I wrote last year called (Click here:) “To Steak or not to Steak … that is the question”

Now, … you’ve already told me how much you want to spend and with the information I’ve given you, you are in a better position to make an informed decision on what you’d like to buy.

Ask all the questions you like … there are no stupid ones. I’m here to help.

In the meantime, stay tuned and … please click “follow” at the top of the page (Carnivore Confidential). You’ll get an email notice every time I write something new.

Until next time Carnivores, stay hungry and as usual, please follow my posts on Twitter @DougieDee and like and share them on Facebook