Marketing plans are a like a road map to help producers reach their goals
Marketing is not always an easy task for small producers, but it is an essential tool to get the word out about the business.
The first step before starting a marketing campaign is creating a well-designed and detailed marketing plan, which will be the guide.
“Any business, large or small, must have a set of goals,” said Nathan Kemper, professor of agri economics and agribusiness at the University of Arkansas. “A marketing plan is a road map to help producers work toward accomplishing their goals. It helps producers identify where they are, where they are going and how to get there.”
Kemper said the process involved in putting together a formal written marketing plan is valuable for any business. Having a written plan helps build discipline and is a great way to check the reasoning or accuracy of the thought process leading to strategic decisions for the business.
With a marketing plan, small businesses have the chance to compete with big companies and corporations in the agriculture sector.
“A good marketing plan helps the producer to identify and quantify costs, set pricing strategies, examine production and price risk and develop a strategy for marketing the products of the business,” said Kemper.
An important factor to consider when putting together a marketing plan is the target audience or consumers that the business is trying to have as potential clients.
According to Kemper agriculture, in general, has become much more consumer-oriented over the years, so smaller operations serving niche markets must have a strong focus on delivering value to their customers.
“The basic components of a marketing plan for a large operation are the same as for the small operation,” said Kemper. “However, the smaller operation is likely to have much fewer resources to collect, analyze and assemble data into a complex marketing plan.”
Kemper said the marketing plan must include the strategic goals and vision for the operation and details about how the business will accomplish these goals and return a profit to the business.
A marketing plan will not always be perfect or work as intended, but it can be adjusted or change depending on the needs of the business and the public.
“A marketing plan is a living document that adjusts due to business and market forces,” said Kemper. “A plan is a guiding document that should be used for guidance, but just as road closures required us to take alternate routes, unanticipated changes can require us to alter our plans.”
For those thinking of creating a marketing plan, it should at least include:
• Industry overview and market outlook
• Financial situation and goals
• Product/service offerings and pricing strategy
• Value proposition plan and targeting strategy
• Marketing calendar
• Financial reports
For more information on how to create a marketing plan, go to www.sba.go.