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Building a marketing plan

Agriculture.com Staff 07/07/2010 @ 9:08am

In most businesses, a marketing plan is the most critical piece of the start-up pie. New farm operators are sometimes loath to make marketing plans a part of their start-up efforts. If you are starting a new farm operation, take the time to prepare a marketing plan -- it may be the difference between success and failure.

What is a marketing plan? A marketing plan sounds a lot worse than it is. It really boils down to: what are you going to sell and how are you going to sell it?

What type of farm do you want to start? This may influence what should be emphasized in your marketing plan. You need to address all four "Ps" of a marketing plan -- product, pricing, promotion and placement. It is my observation that a direct marketer has different marketing challenges than a wholesale marketer. The direct marketer has more problems with the first two Ps: product and pricing. The wholesale marketer has more problems with the last two Ps, promotion and placement (distribution).

In most businesses, a marketing plan is the most critical piece of the start-up pie. New farm operators are sometimes loath to make marketing plans a part of their start-up efforts. If you are starting a new farm operation, take the time to prepare a marketing plan -- it may be the difference between success and failure.

Direct marketing operations have problems deciding what products will sell the best. Given that many raised farm products have to be planned at least 3-4 months in advance, this poses a logistical challenge. You must grow something that your customers want! Give them a reason to buy your product. Don't just grow something and then try to figure out how to sell it.

Wholesalers are often commodity producers (similar products as a lot of other farmers) and price takers (take the price that the middleman gives them). Given that wholesalers have little control over product and price, this makes promotion and distribution that much more important.

Farm Transfer Guides: One guide for the senior generation and one for the junior generation. These guides will help you navigate the complex process of farm transfer in an easy step by step fashion.

Getting started in farming is not easy. The successful farm start-ups differ from their counterparts due to these common traits:

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