Friendly Advice on How to Start a Farmers Market

If you would of told me that I would be managing a farmers market a year ago I would of thought you were crazy. The opportunity arose quite suddenly to be the manager of our local farmers market. I am no expert on how to run a farmers market, but the following are important concepts to consider when you are thinking of starting a farmers market for your community or taking over one as a manager.

Before you even begin to formulate your location, vendors, layout, marketing strategies you need to have a board of directors. This board will be the governing entity of your market. You will need people who are experienced in urban planning, business, the agricultural scene, and active with your community. It is also a good idea to talk to other farmers markets; how did they start their market? What advice do they have? Would they be willing to help you? Once you have your board members selected, you need to come up with a mission for your market. What do you stand for? What do you want your community to gain by your presence?

You can’t have a farmers market without vendors. The type of vendor for your market really depends on your location. Here in Asheville, artisan vendors don’t do great. Produce vendors those are the vendors you want. You need to make sure that they are not all selling the same crops. Variety is key. At our market we have five produce vendors. They all have different items for sale. With the new craze of food trucks, it would be a great idea to recruit one or many for your market. My market is a smaller farmers market and I found that it’s best to try to reach out to food trucks that are just starting out. The ones that have been around for a longer period of time may consider your market – if it’s on the small scale or just starting up – a waste of their time because they may not make what they would consider to be a good profit for their time.

Marketing is a deal. Based off data the best way to market is using social media; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,etc. These are valuable assets to any business. You can also use Google Business to let people know about your market. Social media posts are free, which is great when you are just starting out. Once you get your market sustainable cash flow, you can look into boosting posts on Facebook and Twitter. Both Facebook and Twitter offer you to set your advertising budget which allows for less stress; once your budget has been spent the advertising stops until you reset it. Another great idea is to partner up with local businesses that are willing to promote your market using their social media. From my experience going and talking to local restaurants, breweries, kitchen supply stores that do food demos are all great prospects.

Location! Location! Location! This is very important to farmers markets. Last year my market was behind a church in their parking lot. There was no road visibility. We lacked new customers due to no visibility. During the off season we worked diligently to find a new location that was more visible, had walk ability, as well as good parking. We are now partnering with a local business to use their parking lot which has road visibility, parking as well as walk ability for our neighborhood. This move was a win-win for everyone involved. Our customers are now their customers, and their customers are now our customers.

If you want to start your own farmers market here are some resources to consider reviewing before starting the process. There is a course you can take through the Farmers Market Federation of NY, Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Broome County and SUNY Cobleskill and funded by NYS’s Fresh Connect Program. This program costs $200, after taking the certification course you will be a certified Farmers Market Manager. It is an online course. I plan on taking it in the near future. Another great resource is ASAP. They have a section dedicated to how to become a farmers market manager with Powerpoint slides, PDF’s on farmers market rules and regulations. The best part is that this is a free resource.

Resources:

http://www.nyfarmersmarket.com/fmm-pro-suny-farmers-market-managers-certification-program

http://www.asapconnections.org

The 2 Most Deadly Sins of B2B Marketing

There are two major reasons why marketing is failing at your small- or medium-sized B2B firm:

You view marketing as business triage. Your company applies a collection of tactics (often labeled as a “marketing campaign”) only in response to a problem; typically involving the loss of a key client, or decline in revenue. When business is good, little or no time is invested in marketing. When business (inevitably) takes a dip, only then does marketing becomes a priority.

You expect marketing to deliver immediate results. Either because your company always views marketing on a “cause & effect” tactical basis, or because marketing triage must be applied quickly to revive an ailing company, the marketing function is given insufficient time to produce tangible results. It’s no surprise that marketing professionals have the shortest tenure of any corporate function in the asset management business.

The hard truth is that very few B2B business owners either understand the marketing function, or have the discipline to design, implement, measure and adhere to a consistent marketing approach that builds brand equity and market engagement over a sustained period.

To establish the infrastructure and internal culture necessary for the marketing discipline to succeed, we offer the following simple path:

  • Create a Written Marketing Plan. This need not be in a 3-inch binder; a two-page document is often sufficient. Include goals, strategies, responsibilities, timelines, budgets and ways to measure results. Without a Marketing Plan you’ll waste lots of time and money. And unless it’s a written document, you won’t have commitment or accountability.
  • Gain Senior Level Commitment. The honcho in corner office (which might be you) must understand, endorse and support the Marketing Plan. This involves more than lip service. If your Plan isn’t properly staffed and funded at the outset, there’s no real commitment to marketing.
  • Do a Few Things Very Well.Your marketing success will be based on the quality and effectiveness of a limited number of strategies / tactics. Firms sometimes go overboard, thinking there’s a correlation between the size of its marketing investment and business results. But less is usually more, in terms of marketing ROI.
  • Build and Nurture your Database.Direct and easy access to your company’s clients, prospects, referral sources and opinion leaders is essential. Without an email pipeline, the marketing value of the content you create is close to zero. If your firm’s thought leadership simply sits on its website or social media, you’re missing the opportunity to build relationships with people in your target audiences.
  • Create Meaningful Content. Self-serving, long-winded white papers and research reports have very limited appeal. Generate content that validates your company’s intellectual capital, that’s easy to read, and focuses on timely topics that people have a genuine interest in.
  • Drive Top-of-Mind Awareness. To be included on the short list of candidates for an assignment or sale, you need to build awareness with key decision-makers. To accomplish that goal, share your content directly with target audiences on a quarterly basis. (More frequently than that, and you may be viewed as a pest.)

Most importantly – with apologies to Glengarry Glen Ross – B2B firms must commit to:

A… Always

B… Be

M… Marketing

… for the discipline to be effective. Otherwise, the traditional short-term, hair-on-fire approach to business development will keep your company from ever reaching its full potential, regardless of its quality or reputation.

Digital Marketing Strategies Need To Be Aligned To The Most Recent Market Trends

To begin with, let us understand that any kind of marketing requires consistent and persistent efforts. Market trends keep changing and if you do not keep tweaking and optimizing, your business is sure to stagnate. This is exactly why it is highly essential that your digital marketing strategies be aligned to the most recent market trends. This helps brands better connect with their target audience and provide them with value services.

Adopt a data driven strategy

More and more businesses are embracing a data driven marketing strategy. Realizing the importance of data analysis and measurement tools, they also realize that with the right data at hand, they can provide customers with better services. This data is also crucial for developing new marketing strategies and creating better ad copies, better social media content and better overall content for digital marketing purposes.

Quality content to Engaging content

The importance of quality content cannot be emphasized on enough. Today’s customers demand more – along with the quality of the content, it should have the power to hold their attention long enough to convert them. So, whether you are using blogs or articles, social media or videos, make the content worth the reader’s time. Visitors simply browse through the content – until something interests them enough to stop and read on. Compelling content not only engages but also helps sustain the attention of potential customers. This is exactly why you need to keep refining your content and making it perfect.

Focus on mobile

Digital marketing trends are no longer limited to the web. If your digital marketing strategies do not include mobiles, you are missing out on a very large customer base. Mobiles have formed irreplaceable parts of our lives and digital marketing strategies today without a mobile marketing plan are almost in vein. Google too has made mobile friendliness as a key search ranking factor in their algorithm. This makes it all the more important to have a mobile marketing strategy.

Use visualizations to strengthen your story

Captivating videos and graphics are a great way to strengthen your marketing campaigns. There’s a reason why info-graphics and feature images are getting popular by the day. Here are a few stats to support this theory:

  • 46% of the marketers agree that visuals are crucial to any marketing strategy
  • Content with images receive 94% more views than those without.
  • 55% content creators prioritize creating visual content to make it more engaging for their readers.
  • 39% of the marketers allocate more budgets for the creation of compelling visual assets.

Images and videos generally have their own search index in Google and YouTube. They help in adding visibility to your business.

Finally, the key to any marketing strategy today is personalization. You need to ensure that you meet the needs of your target customers. The ultimate goal of digital marketing is to deliver the right content to the users at the right time. Keep all the factors in mind while you plan for your next digital marketing campaign.