Farm businesses that received detailed consumer information from the Tesco Clubcard database to help with their direct marketing have reported a significant growth in business and improved efficiencies, according to a pilot study conducted by the Food Chain Centre.

The study revealed the fundamental importance to any business, particularly small businesses, in having detailed information when making strategic planning and marketing decisions.

With the support of Dunnhumby, producers were provided with relevant information on the shopping behaviour of 1m supermarket shoppers.

Among the key factors that emerged were:

  • The information gave them a much better understanding of their market and their customers
  • It helped identify the different types (segments) of customers in their markets
  • They were able to tailor their marketing to meet customer needs
  • They tailored their business or marketing plan to improve their appeal to new customers, be it retailer, wholesaler, merchant or consumer.

One participating couple, Lucy and James Barclay of Abbey Farm, Stixwould, Lincolnshire, breed and market the meat from their herd of Lincoln Red cattle and Gloucester Old Spot pigs, said the data helped them devise a method for using the cheaper cuts of meat.

“One year on, we have found that the segmentation and targeting information from the Dunnhumby data has been amazingly accurate,” said Mrs Barclay.

“The research was an important piece of the jigsaw and helped us to think about how to target different customer groups.”

KG Fruits, a large farmer-controlled soft fruit business based in Hampshire, received information detailing how different customers respond to different sales promotions enabling it to understand the buying patterns of different consumer segments to improve its promotions for 2005.

andrew.watts@rbi.co.uk