Seven things you need to keep in mind on marketing

Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi samples vegetables at Kwa Upanga market in the past. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The goal of marketing is to set a price that is perceived as fair by the consumer and make a product presentation that brings favourable reaction, pleasant memories or some significant level of satisfaction by the purchaser.

Marketing is about learning why the consumer buys a particular product and not any other.

You cannot think for the buyer. You should not attempt to put yourself in their place because you are too subjective.

Again, never wait for consumers to confirm a product failure. In farming, like all other business endeavours, producers and processors are constantly catching up with consumer demand, customer preferences, and market likes and dislikes.

Thus, you need to appeal to them and learn how to remotely “close the deal” with them at the “point of sale”.

How do you get your product to sell itself? If you think about your farm and the top five products you cultivate and put that into a matrix, you can analyse distance to market, cost to produce, package and ship, shelf-life of the product, and turn-around time on payment from the buyer.

Once this matrix is written down, prepare your marketing plan. The Seven P’s of marketing are as follows:

i) Product

Examples: 500 pounds of sweet onions available every 65 days fresh; 200kg of garlic, 200kg of leeks, and so on.

You must describe your product in a way that a potential buyer can immediately know exactly what it is you produce and its regular availability.

ii) Process

What standardised and innovative processes will you use from seedling to market. You can do this using the Farm-to-Plate Continuum.

Where are the opportunities for improvement, efficiencies, innovation, or simple mechanisation in your Field-to-Market process and how can you include the ultimate consumer in this value chain?

iii) Physical infrastructure

Do you have shelter or production facilities for your livestock? Do you have irrigation systems in place or rely on rain feeding? Do you have your own trucks or rely on horse-drawn carts to get the product to market? Do you have electricity on the farm or do you rely on kerosene lamps? These are legitimate questions to answer.

iv) Promotion

What do the products look like on the shelf? Does your brand name resonate with the consumer? Does the packaging align with product freshness or long shelf-life? How and where do you or should you advertise?

v) People

Who do you rely on to keep up with farm labour demands? Family or hired help? In what positions? Have you thought about hiring young college graduates to help you run the farm and work in the fields? Add value to your farm business everywhere you can.

vi) Place

At what spot does the product change hands to the ultimate consumer? What “channel of distribution” do you use to get your product to that spot and how often?

vii) Price

What is the gross income you can expect to receive by product line and what is the individual price the consumer will have to pay for you to reach your income goals?

The single greatest failing is when business managers begin with setting a price to the consumer and then proceed to figure out how to bring in a quality product and still make a profit at that set price.

Christina Feller, global health education. Living With Peace-Kenya; [email protected]