Discovery markets Communicating product identities in specialised sectors
Based upon initial research conducted in the specialist cheese sector in the UK, this paper suggests that some relevant issues may not be fully illuminated by standard concepts and categories in marketing. In particular, there is a need to communicate successfully to potential customers a range of complex and subtle signals about product differentiation, a task that is mostly beyond the means of the small-scale producers of these products. Similar circumstances and marketing challenges are apparent in certain other markets (notably those for wine and real ales, but potentially including a number of other fields), which also seem to illustrate some ways in which significant progress can be made. As a result, the paper proposes a new category of "discovery" markets, in which the problems of creating and communicating what are in effect brand identities may be addressed by equipping consumers with the means to find their own way around these markets and discover the diversity for themselves. The experience to date in some of these markets suggests ways in which consumers can be encouraged to start the process of discovery.