University of Maryland Extension

Marketing Strategies for Diversified Livestock Producers

Author: 
Ginger S. Myers

 

Ag Marketing News Update

The phenomenal growth in the number of farmers’ markets nationwide can be attributed in part to the increased diversity of products many markets now offer.  While fresh fruits and vegetables are still the keystone products, many markets now offer shoppers dairy products, meats, baked goods, and a wide array of specialty food products.

Consumers want variety in their food purchasing choices.  They also prefer the convenience of purchasing multiple items at one stop, even if prices are slightly higher than in the grocery stores. These purchasing behaviors are in response to two well established methods for improving sales and increasing customer loyalty—up-selling and cross-selling.

Up-selling is the practice of offering customers a product in addition to the product they are currently purchasing.  A diversified livestock producer may have a customer who intends to purchase ground beef, but might also purchase pork chops and chicken, if the products are available and they can do so all in the same transaction.  Think of it as “filling their cart.”

Cross-selling refers to selling items that are related or can be integrated with the other items being sold.  For example, offering eggs paired with bacon and ham sales. 

Marketing holiday turkeys?  Offering sausage for the stuffing and recipes for serving turkey leftovers are also examples of cross-selling. Both these techniques can increase sales volumes and provide a valuable service to your customers.

Diversified livestock products also allow for more diversified product offerings.  Diversifying both production output and market offerings is a smart way to manage on-farm business risks.  If one portion of the operation is in difficulty, another enterprise in the operation may be able to make up the difference between operating in the black and operating at a loss.

Offering customers a diversity of products can also help producers differentiate themselves in the marketplace from those offering only one species of meat products. Other attributes that may be utilized to differentiate products include:

How it’s grown: Production methods —

grass-fed, cage-free, free range, organic, natural, or a third-party certification designation.

What’s for sale: Product types —

livestock sales or packaged products. Products can be differentiated by processing methods, labels, package sizes, packaging design, and additional value-added processing.

Where it can be purchased: Market outlets —

On-farm retail sales, farmers markets, CSAs, institutional sales, cooperative marketing groups, and retail food stores.

Diversified livestock production can allow for a wider range of products and marketing outlets.  But, it also requires more resources — land, fencing, building, and labor.  Producers should develop a separate marketing plan for each species so that resources such as freezer space, packaging costs, regulations and licensing fees, and labor can be allocated efficiently. 
Marketing materials tell the producer’s “story” but also address each species separately.  Brochures and websites should let customers know the advantages of purchasing multiple products in one transaction.

 

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March 2011

 

 

 

 

 

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