Farm-Based Marketing Research
|Beef producers Jay and Tricia McKay of Mindenmines, Mo., help promote their co-op's main product |
Photo by Bob Cunningham
More and more, producers seeking better returns opt for alternative marketing strategies. Before launching a potentially expensive, ill-fated new enterprise, conduct market research to determine whether your new idea might fly.
“Use market research to reduce the risk,” said Jenny Warden, an independent marketing consultant in Virginia who has worked with farmers. “Figuring out how many units you can sell is 90 percent of launching a new product. The huge questions in any new business are: ‘How many can I sell, at what price and how fast?’ ”
Consider the following steps when conducting market research:
Market analysis. Take advantage of what others have learned. Contact other producers who specialize in your product, publicly held companies that post earnings statements and government agencies. Search libraries for books, reports and journals. Contact agricultural extension offices, and search on the Internet.
Be precise about the question you want to answer. The narrower your question (What cut of beef would sell best at a farmers market?), the more efficiently your research can answer it.
Conduct quantitative research, such as surveys, which will offer information about projecting your sample responses to a larger population. Surveys help you determine how many people will buy your product and how much they will pay.
Conduct qualitative research, such as focus groups and in-depth interviews. In-depth discussions help you determine the underlying reasons behind consumer choices, such as a preference for dried herb arrangements around the winter holidays.
For detailed information about how to create a lender-ready business plan, see Building a Sustainable Business, listed in “Resources”.