By Megan Webb, Ph.D. Contributing Editor
When the sun rises, I enjoy starting the coffee pot, turning on the early morning news, reviewing the weather and ensuring I’m ready to start the day. This routine allows me to achieve success and remain on task, even while overcoming most external competing factors. I learned this skill many years ago and really strongly developed envisioning my success become a reality when I rode on the NCAA Equestrian Team at Texas A&M University. Before competing, it was expected to envision success before entering the arena and mentally reviewing the pattern being executed precisely. Allowing myself time to envision my end goal made me subconsciously bridge the gap between my dreams and the real outcome.
Beginning With the End in Mind
When preparing to merchandise cattle, carcasses or other products off the farm or ranch, sometimes we need to change viewpoints and ensure we are positioned to market the final product most effectively. For example, we should be primed to effectively market steers when they are 16 to 19 months of age. We’ve already preconditioned success by selecting breed type and managed for their condition. However, have we focused on the market opportunities available and positioned steers to be marketed for our greatest reward?
Taking time to think backwards about what our goals are from profitability and analytical standpoints is important to allow us to define objectives and be able to monitor our continual performance. When marketing cattle, carcasses, operation equipment or other products for sale – and even agritourism or educational events such as farm-to-table dinners – it is important to create marketing objectives that can be monitored and support operational goal achievement. Whether you are completely new to the world of marketing or have been spearheading marketing efforts for several years, improvement is continuous and we should take an active approach.
Utilizing Digital Media as a Tool
Expanding our marketing efforts for profitability improvement should be considered. For example, if the operation has historically utilized traditional print media for private sales, it may be time to incorporate digital marketing to supplement the number of people reached and gain support from social media technologies such as boosting capabilities of ad campaigns. Digital media can also help operations feature actionable clips or videos that give customers direct experience and more confidence than standard photos for their improved decision-making ability. They say a picture is worth a thousand words; I’d suspect that a 30-second video clip would be worth at least a million words.
Marketing Best Practices
Portraying your mission with your brand is an important strategy to help define your product’s purpose and target market. Building brand identity that is relatable to the target audience will propel your operation’s sales in the right direction.
Certainly, as independent business owners, it can be cumbersome to juggle marketing roles in addition to management. Creating simple and sustainable social media strategies can be helpful and can alleviate marketing stress. Setting up checklists, using social media scheduling tools and referencing written content ideas can help your marketing efforts be streamlined and successful.
There are several friendly design platforms such as Canva that is an easy-to-use, all-in-one graphic design dashboard. Creating compelling graphics does not have to be complicated. Establishing visual hierarchy and easy readability will help take your marketing efforts to a new level.
If you are not a marketing pro, it is okay to utilize professional services to help your operation advance to the next marketing level. Service personnel can also help contrast analytical progress to marketing dollars spent. Reviewing sale performance and these marketing analytics will be a helpful tool to ensure effective marketing strategies are taking place with the end goal in mind and continually gauge sale success.
Developing a marketing plan in advance of a sale or event is important to achieve your goals. Enhancing digital marketing for cattle at auction markets, direct sales, video or internet sales, and even commingled sales should enhance profitability and strengthen your operational goal achievement. Having a developed marketing plan will allow you to remain on task and bridge the gap between your dreams and the final outcome.