Managing marketing risk begins with a marketing plan. A marketing plan is the way you have decided you will market your production after evaluating your options and deciding what will be the best way to meet your goals and objectives. It sets the specific actions you will take and the steps to reach your goals. It requires commitment and discipline to create and follow a marketing plan. Marketing involves emotion, science, discipline, and analysis. The best plan will fail without the discipline to stay on track.
A marketing plan alone does not guarantee success, but it does indicate that many of the factors that affect the profitability and continued survival of the operation have been given consideration. A marketing plan is usually part of a larger business plan that includes production, financial, staffing and management plans.
Marketing is an essential element of small and large agricultural enterprises. The marketing environment exerts a strong influence on the nature of the farm. The crops grown and services provided are determined less by a farmer’s personal tastes than by what the market will absorb at a price the farmer is willing to take.
A good market plan for direct marketing broadly aims to define the consumer, the products or services they want, and the most effective promotion and advertising strategies for reaching those consumers.
(Editor’s Note: James Hartsfield is an Extension Agent with the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Service.)