The Need for Marketing in the Wholesale Segment

A Q&A with Gabriela D’Arrigo

Originally printed in the May 2024 issue of Produce Business.

Q. Why is it critical for wholesalers to market themselves?

A. Wholesale is sort of the “dark underbelly” of the business that doesn’t get talked about enough. We tend to be viewed as a necessary outlet for most of the major players in the produce industry, but not the top choice.

We need to market ourselves as a necessary outlet, and also as trusted partners that can expand one’s business in a region. We are the key middlemen who can reach end users who wouldn’t otherwise be reached, and offer additional services that are beneficial to our suppliers and customers.

Q. What are the most effective marketing methods you’ve explored with D’Arrigo New York?

A. Several methods stand out for us:

  1. Ad sales with suppliers and customers, plus providing point-of-sale (POS) materials.
  1. Strategic social media campaigns aiming to promote product, a business or people.
  1. Hosting networking events to bring the supply chain together and discuss new ideas that can be implemented.
  1. Donations or product and merchandise for different events in our region that share the same mission.
  1. Customer relationship management (CRM) — any and all information about our company and services, not just to those within the produce industry, but to the public as well.
  1. Facility tours for our partners, as well as the public, to help them gain an understanding of our business and the impact that we have on our region.
Facility tours for partners, as well as the public, help others gain an understanding of the wholesale business, and the impact that it can have on a region. It’s just one of the effective methods that can be used in marketing.

Q. What have been the least effective methods?

A. There have definitely been methods that have not worked to our advantage or benefited our efforts. Here are two prime examples:

  1. Participating in events where the messaging was lost or not clear (too much going on).
  1. Sponsorships or donations where there has not been any visibility.

Wholesalers are key middlemen who can reach end users who wouldn’t otherwise be reached.

Q. What about local growers? Do you do more to assist them?

A. When working with local growers, there is definitely more that we assist with because they, more often than not, do not have an internal marketing team. We provide POS materials and strategies to help them market their products.

Q. How do you think LinkedIn has impacted marketing for you and other wholesalers?

A. LinkedIn has been great in getting relevant company and wholesale information out to the rest of the industry and other professions. We can instantly share impactful information with other companies and professionals. It has also been a new avenue for us to source talent for our company.

Gabriela D’Arrigo is vice president of marketing and communications for D’Arrigo New York, Bronx, NY. D’Arrigo New York has served the Northeast since 1948 as a full-line wholesaler of quality fresh fruit and vegetables and the East Coast home of the Andy Boy label.