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Direct Marketing: Seven Basic Roles

Direct Marketing: Seven Basic Roles
APPPA GRIT! issue 16

Farmers thinking about direct marketing a food product can consider several basic work roles that are part of getting a food from the farm to the consumer. Doing the necessary tasks for all these roles is likely to require teamwork, says Wright County educator Maribel Fernandez of the University of Minnesota Extension Service. Fernandez cites seven basic work roles for persons doing direct marketing, as identified by consultant Pete Reese.

They are:
• Vision and planning Identify opportunities, draft a purpose statement, write clear long– and short-term goals, create a financial plan, recruit team members, lead an effort to come up with a brand. Also, help negotiate deals with suppliers and customers, build relationships with others involved in a similar enterprise, monitor and evaluate results and make adjustments or implement changes.

• Organization and administration: Assess strengths of each contributing person, create a task list, set up an office, keep financial records, help negotiate with suppliers and customers.

• Production and Management: Turn goals into a realistic production flowchart, write resource requirements for major steps (people, machinery, facilities, supplies), recruit workers, make sure the work gets done, keep production records, look for ways to improve the product and make the process more efficient.

• Sales management and customer relations: Determine how to best spend sales energy and money, keep sales records, meet with large customers personally, supervise other people helping with sales and advertising, help negotiate major deals.

• Advertising and public relations: Identifyhow best to reach customers (flyers, signs, etc.), calculate a budget to support sales, implement development of a label with the brand and that meets legal requirements. Also, write sales materials and a telephone message, talk with local newspaper and newsletter editors to get articles written and published, keep a file of other people’s sales ideas.

• Financial Management: Support a financial planning process; select a financial institution and be the contact person; select a bookkeeper or accountant; manage the checkbook, savings account and investments; track and pay bills; be in charge of taxes, payroll and insurance; look for opportunities to save money.

• Regulatory compliance: Research labor, environmental, transportation, personnel and product safety and liability issues; build relationships with regulatory agencies; recruit legal or consulting help when needed; maintain all certification records, correspondence, and documentation.

Most likely you won’t be able or want to take care of all of these areas on your own, says Fernandez. One person may take care of one or two areas, but in the long run it is better to allow people to do the work that fits them best.

Fernandez recommends writing down your purpose for getting into direct marketing and what you want to sell. Then write down all possible steps you can think of between the raw product from the farm and the final product on the customer’s table.