Use the personality of your farm to market itself

Marketing Strategy for 2011 – Where we go from here

1.      Determine who will be in charge of marketing this year (identify your “VP of Marketing”).

2.      Make firm goals for the sales growth you would like to achieve in the next 12 months

3.      Identify the amount of time and money you will commit to try to achieve your sales goals for the year

4.      Outline the specific marketing actions that are needed to help you reach those goals

5.      Create a calendar of marketing activities for the next 12 months and list who will be responsible for each action.

6.      Schedule time quarterly for the VP of Marketing to review the results of each action and update the rest of the team on the progress.

7. Schedule time to continue brainstorming and trouble-shooting if your short-term sales goals aren’t achieved each quarter.  Don’t’ wait until the end of the year to determine if your actions are working or not!

8.      Meet once a month with your whole sales team to explain what you are doing to increase sales, what everyone needs to reinforce with every customer contact, how they can help you achieve the strategies you have adopted for increasing sales, and hold team members accountable, reward members who follow new guidance and take initiative that improves sales.

9.      Get help.

a.       Contact the resources listed in the marketing binder and meet with them.

i.      Visit your local Small Business Development Center,

ii.      the local Chamber of Commerce, join it and go to meetings with the goal of gaining one or two customers at each event, build an effective marketing social network, focus on gaining new customers in 2011 and beyond.

iii.      Check out the resources on the SCORE website , get a mentor with marketing and farm experience, review your plans with them regularly, get their help on anything you are weak in

iv.      Get a tour of the local Food Processing Center, discuss your goals, find out what workshops are coming up, see if you can network with business using the center who might source their raw materials from you

v.      Use CISA’s resources, leverage your marketing budget by using the membership benefits, network, get ideas from other farmers, get press, use them to build your story in the minds of local customers (reinforce the message of your marketing materials in both existing and potential consumers of your meats)

b.      Send out emails to current CSA customers requesting volunteers or work-trades from experts with marketing, writing and computer backgrounds, then get them to commit and use their skills regularly to help improve your marketing materials and internet based communication tools.

c.       Find a student or other person to help with the simplest jobs to free you up to focus on marketing and sales management

d.      Contact Farm Viability to see if they can provide further technical assistance