Professional Development Program






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Unit 2: Marketing Opportunities and Strategies for Sustainable Farm/Ranch Businesses

Marketing Plans

Once a farmer or rancher has fully developed their idea, done all the necessary background research, and decided on a marketing strategy, the next step is to create a formal marketing plan. Marketing plans are a key component of a comprehensive business plan (see Unit 1). A marketing plan helps the producer articulate ideas, serves as a communication tool when talking with buyers, provides tools for monitoring success and becomes an integral part of the final business plan required by lenders and other investors. We described the basic elements of a marketing plan at the beginning of this unit. A more complete outline includes the following:
  • Market overview (opportunities, threats)
  • Buyer description (target market characteristics)
  • Product description (including competitor analysis)
  • Marketing/distribution strategy (direct, intermediary, collaboration)
  • Sales potential (projected sales volume)
  • Pricing strategy and projected sales revenue
  • Promotion strategy (message, advertising)
  • Risks
  • Overview of competition (products, prices)
  • Contingency plan
  • Financial statements: marketing-related expense estimates
Note that the first eight items in the above list parallel the basic marketing concepts and strategies outlined in the first section of this Unit. The three additional items at the end of the list (overview of competition, contingency plan and financial statements) are important items that lenders look for as part of the overall marketing plan.
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