Tracy Petrucci: Small Business Spotlight: Bitchin' Sauce

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Small Business Spotlight: Bitchin' Sauce

Article and Photography by Leesa King

Ahhhh, Farmer's Markets. 

Sticky honey in cute jars, rustic veggies waiting to be crunched, green juice for sipping, essential oils wisp through the air as you stroll. Whether you go for lunch, to restock the fridge, or just to stretch your legs mid-week, there is always a good excuse to hit up your nearest Farmer's Market - or the farthest...go explore!

I have a few favorite stops on my agenda at the weekly Farmer's Market. It always begins with the hummus stand, a giant bag of organic greens, and sauce. But not just any sauce. The world's nuttiest experience outside of Nutella...(are there even nuts in Nutella anymore?)

In case you have not yet dipped a chip, veggie, or finger into a tub of Bitchin' Sauce, let me tell you why you will love this product, and what you can learn from its fabulous marketing. Here's a few reasons why Bitchin' Sauce is branded so well. 

First. They just won't stop Bitchin'. Any opportunity to sneak that ear-catching logo into a sentence, phrase, or shout, they will! And it's in the name in all of their products (Bitchin' Bar, for example). Who's they, you ask? Well, the Bitchin' guys of course.

Second. The sauce sells itself. It's fantastic. BUT you might forget about that fabulous spread if the name wasn't so catchy and striking. Find yourself embarrassed telling your friends about it? Great! They've gone and given you an emotional response with that afternoon snack. Look at you blushing! How will you ever forget that culinary and emotional experience? Exactly.

Last. Target market. This is a healthy and delish snack, but how would you know from just the label?
Although adorable, packaging is only half of marketing. But making sure that people taste the product is a huge door-opener. Sampling in local grocery stores like Whole Foods and Farmer's Markets - which already target a very specific, health-conscious clientele - has turned thousands onto Bitchin' Sauce. And now they Bitch' all day! These guys knew that an almond-based spread would need to be tasted to be trusted. And that's exactly what they've done.

Now, enough from me. Let's hear from the guys behind the madness for a bit. Here's an interview with Ryan, one of the company's head honchos.

As a consumer of your product myself, I usually find "Bitchin' Sauce" at specialty health food stores like Cream of the Crop or Jimbo's, and of course, at local farmers markets. How do you market to reach an audience that may not shop at these locations?

Starting out at Farmer's Markets most of our marketing has been face to face. We give people the most Bitchin' Experience possible, so it's not just another dip, it's a life changing experience. As we have expanded out into local natural markets, there has been no problems reaching people. Most of the time customers of the farmers market, run out mid week and can't wait till the next farmers market to get their fix, so they hit up the store.

We really haven't tapped into social media until recently. Bogged down with lots of Bitchin' growth into stores has put the social media last in line. However, now that we are out in some large store chains such as Whole Foods, we have started to focus more on social media knowing that it is a great tool for preaching the Bitchin' gospel. In addition to social media we also have Bitchin' "ambassadors" out there who demo our products in stores and provide that invaluable face to face Bitchin' experience. 

 In business marketing, we know that "branding" is huge. You guys have a solid personality along with your brand - tell me a little bit about how you decided on the catchy name, and how you continue to brand yourself, the company, and the product. 

Our Sauce is very niche and unique. Most have never tasted anything like it. It is a powerful product in that it is insanely delish, healthy, fits most diets and can go on everything. Knowing that when people try Bitchin' Sauce for the first time, there life will never be the same in the most Bitchin' ways, we also wanted to make every aspect of the experience life changing. So, we named the sauce Bitchin' Sauce. Seemed fitting. The name turns heads, causes smiles, makes laughter and evokes emotion from people. On top of that, when we have the opportunity to be face to face with our customers, they get the most Bitchin' experience that they never saw coming, and they will go off and tell all there friends about their experience, and the Bitchin' gospel will march on. On top of that we round it off with the most Bitchin' customer service ever to make sure everyone knows they are valued and that we love them.

It's more of a lifestyle now than a product. It's all about livin' the Bitchin' life.

Do you have hopes to reach mainstream consumers within and beyond San Diego - by selling Bitchin' Sauce at a chain grocer - or do you prefer to keep it localized? 

Our goal is to bless as many people as possible with Bitchin goodies. So we are very excited to expand out and give everyone the same experience we give to our San Diego customers.

What business and/or marketing advice can you give to other entrepreneurial locals who want to create a food product? What struggles or challenges did you overcome during the making of Bitchin Sauce that led you to such a successful product?

If you have an food idea test it out first before you throw everything into it. Farmers markets are a great place to do this.  Get clear on what you want, figure out how to get there, and commit to it. You will get there. We have overcome struggles and challenges of all sorts, and will continue conquer them all. We wouldn't trade the process for anything. It makes you strong.

So there you have it, San Diego! Next time you hear your kids cursing, slap their mouth full of Bitchin' sauce instead of soap. It'll shut them right up ;) 

Three business model takeaways from today's Spotlight:

1. Branding. Logo. Packaging. Be consistent and catchy. Find ways to integrate your name into every possible dynamic, if it's fitting for your product.

2. How can you make your product stand out? Take something like hummus, which everyone loves. Bitchin' sauce is not hummus, but similar enough that it's approachable while still being in its own market. There was a void on the shelf, and these guys filled it. Try to do the same with your own product. Know the market you're going into.

3.  Make your product known. If you're selling a food product - sample it! If it's a useful product, demo it! Show people how it can be useful in their own life, and don't rely on letting it sit on the shelf amongst a million other products. These days, people are bombarded with options, fonts, logos, and it's exhausting. Don't be shy. Stand out!

For more information on Bitchin' Sauce: Like Them or Follow Them - and stay hungry, San Diego!

For information on how to get your small business on the spotlight, please send me your business description and a short background on your marketing strategies.


Leesa King

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