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A Marketing Legacy: A Q&A With Mark Munger, Senior Director of Marketing, Ocean Mist® Farms

A Marketing Legacy: A Q&A With Mark Munger, Senior Director of Marketing, Ocean Mist® Farms


s a reader, I love drawing parallels between the themes found in literature and those we gravitate toward in life. The importance of experience and knowledge can be traced through centuries of work, both on and off the page.

Mark Munger’s reputation is bolstered by his quest for experience. The Senior Director of Marketing for Ocean Mist® Farms has been a produce advocate for nearly 37 years, and throughout his career, he’s acquired a bounty of wisdom that would put any scholar to shame.

From lessons learned along the way to where he sees the brand headed next, let’s have Mark take us through his book of expertise.

Anne Allen: I’m sure you’ve got big plans for the company’s marketing goals. Can you share some of those with us?

Mark Munger, Senior Director of Marketing, Ocean Mist® Farms: For the last several years, Ocean Mist Farms has used a skilled full-service agency to manage many of the company’s marketing programs. Now, we’ve decided to bring all our marketing activities in-house. I have a great team, and we are all up for the challenge, but we have a lot of work ahead as we begin rolling out our own programs. We are also working on cleaning up our packs to create improved consistency of brand presence, upgrading our data analysis capabilities, and building a closer alliance with our sales team to support them in their efforts.

We are most excited, however, to be preparing for Ocean Mist’s 100-year anniversary next year! There aren’t many fourth-generation family farming companies in our industry that can claim that milestone, and we are already working on some fun and exciting projects.

AA: How does the centennial anniversary tie into future initiatives for Ocean Mist?

MM: We view our centennial as a chance to celebrate our heritage, legacy, and the people who have contributed to our company’s success. Our founders were instrumental in establishing the Castroville, California, artichoke industry and were the first to bring commercial artichokes to the North American marketplace. Our 100th birthday is also an opportunity to show customers our vision for the future and lay the foundation for the next successful hundred years.

“We view our centennial as a chance to celebrate our heritage, legacy, and the people who have contributed to our company’s success.”

Mark Munger, Senior Director of Marketing, Ocean Mist® Farms

AA: Ocean Mist is such a well-known name in the industry and with consumers as well. How do you keep the company’s messaging feeling fresh?

MM: We are fortunate that Ocean Mist Farms has grown to become a very respected and recognizable brand, but we can’t ever coast and take our brand for granted. Fortunately, we have a compelling story to tell. As fourth-generation family farmers, there is an opportunity to speak with authenticity and expertise from seed to table. Consumers want to know where their food comes from. They want to feel connected to the people who grow, harvest, and pack it.

Ocean Mist Farms will continue to tell our story through social media, public relations, and with our customers. That consistent message will be instrumental in keeping our brand fresh and relevant. We are also focused on new product innovation and have an active plan to launch new SKUs and offerings over the next several years that will help keep our brand in front of customers.

AA: It’s obvious you hold a deep respect for Ocean Mist and its mission. What else appealed to you about joining the team?

MM: Ocean Mist has a strong reputation for quality, reliability, and innovation, and the brand always commanded a high degree of respect. I’ve been very fortunate to work with some outstanding brands. The chance to join Ocean Mist Farms, help nurture and grow its brand, was too good of an opportunity to pass up! We are loaded with talented and authentic people, so in essence, I feel like I’ve joined the dream team.

AA: What would you say has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in produce so far, and how do you apply that to your new position?

MM: Over my career, I’ve learned many valuable lessons—most the hard way!—that led to a short list that serves me well in my career. I’ve tried to keep to these and apply them to my role here at Ocean Mist Farms:

Surround yourself with talented people and be sure to let them lead

Always begin decisions with the customer and their needs in mind

Be serious about your work, but never take work too seriously

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; learn from them. They become the drivers of innovation

Even on the worst days, remember that what we do nourishes people, and our industry makes a difference.

The richness of those who work in fresh and the talent of this produce marketer is a match made in heaven. Just as knowledge and experience make for literary bedfellows, so do they carry out a harmony in our industry.