Marketing strategies can benefit all producers
Marketing is typically a necessary part of running an agricultural operation. Marketing strategies for individual farms will look a bit different, but having a marketing plan in place helps producers reach their consumers, tell their story and showcase what sets them apart, ideally improving the bottom line for the operation.
No matter what type of livestock, genetics will typically show up in a marketing plan, especially if a producer sells seedstock and breeding animals. Consumers want to know what they are buying.
“Planning for marketing livestock involves conveying the message of what your animals and your program have to offer. This holds true whether you’re selling feeder calves right off the cow or premium seedstock,” Andy McCorkill, livestock field specialist with the University of Missouri Extension, said. “You’re selling yourself and your management as much as the attributes of the livestock. In this day and age, having data to help tell your story is a helpful tool. Usage of genomic testing, some performance information on herd offspring, the like will help back up the message you are trying to depict.”
Select Efficient Animals for Marketing
Many producers specialize in one area or another, such as grass-fed, a heritage breed, specific lines and pedigrees. While this is an excellent way to set an operation apart and create a reputation, it’s wise to make sure livestock performance in other areas are still up to par.
“I think it’s important to find and market those animals that can ‘do it all,’” McCorkill explained. “Granted, while individual animals will be better at some attributes than others, they should be good in several areas. Single trait selection for particular areas like low birth weight or carcass traits, for example, can leave some holes in other areas of the production. The real trick to marketing seedstock is discussing with your potential customer where they honestly evaluate their own herd’s attributes and shortcomings and then selecting the right animal to fit the bill and fill in those holes.”
Market Additional Offerings
McCorkill explained that many seedstock producers have ways of adding additional offerings to their consumers to make doing business with them more appealing.
“Whether it be a sheet to verify the genetics of the calves sold, aid in helping find a new home for heifers, or setting up a retained ownership program, one of these options might be a good move to consider,” he said.
Creating and benefiting from a marketing plan can take time, and producers should not be discouraged if they do not see results from their extra efforts immediately. Some producers might also consider hiring a marketing professional to help sell their operation, although this is not always necessary.
“Some folks are better at marketing and sales than others,” McCorkill said. “If you’ve got the knack for it, you may not need the help of someone else, but that doesn’t mean another doesn’t. Ultimately, your cattle and management should be able to sell themselves. Sometimes it takes time and some leg work to get to the point of people recognizing your brand, program, or whatever you choose to call it and associating it with a satisfying experience. Just remember the old saying about Rome not being built in a day and have some patience as well as the work ethic and pocketbook to make it all happen.”