Running any business today requires many managerial skills and tasks including, but not limited to:
- Financial planning, management and control
- People management
- Strategic Planning
- Tactical operations
- Resource Allocation
Large corporations typically maintain fully staffed departments responsible for each of the skill sets listed above (although they may name them something other than our list), but as a small business owner, generally you must handle each of these key responsibilities yourself.
Understandably, the "hands-on" operational activities are where the majority of farmers (and most other small businesses) devote the bulk of their efforts and attention. The daily functions of running your farm are something that only you know how to handle and during the growing season those functions often overshadow the marketing components of your business.
In an attempt to better define Marketing, first we will tell you what it is NOT... Marketing is not Selling. However, Marketing does help create the appropriate climate and conditions for selling
Marketing is not Advertising, although the two are closely linked (advertising can be just a small component of your marketing mix), but if your Marketing activity is performed well, you may not even require Advertising!
So ...Exactly what is "Marketing"? A quick Google search found the following definitions:
- The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous - Peter Drucker (ie: you must understand the customer so well that the product/service sells itself)
- Marketing matches customers needs with the strengths of the business.
- Good marketing places the customer at the center of the business.
- Marketing is the link between customer and producer.
- P.Tailor of www.learnmarketing.net suggests that 'Marketing is not about providing products or services it is essentially about providing changing benefits to the changing needs and demands of the customer'
- Philip Kotler defines marketing as "Satisfying needs and wants through an exchange process."
- Marketing is a combination of selling, advertising and Public Relations
- The American Marketing Association defines Marketing as -The performance of business activities that direct the flow of goods and services from producer to consumer or user
- Getting the right goods, to the right people, in the right place, at the right time, at the right price, with the right level of communication profitably- Chartered Institute of Marketing (UK)
In reality, all these definitions mean the same thing, and that is to Find out what customers want and then produce/deliver it.
To effectively market your business:
- Develop a Marketing Plan
- Determine your target audience
- Determine what "message" best summarizes your business
- Determine the "medium" through which you want to spread your message
And keep in mind that the value equation of product quality and pricing most likely will be different for almost every consumer. So although you might grow the best product available and you have priced it competitively, that may not actually be what consumers are looking for.
Marketing is finding out what YOUR customers want and what value they place on the product components. It is much more efficient and less expensive to sell to a current customer than it is to try and find new ones. You must communicate frequently and honestly and provide information in a manner that creates trust by your customers and the desire to buy your product.
We obviously can't help you with your day-to day operational tasks, BUT we can function as your virtual Marketing department, LocavoreNetwork offers many tools to enhance your Marketing efforts.