Marketing food products directly to consumers is a popular way of adding value to a farming operation. Direct marketing can be done by an individual producer or a group of producers working together. Also, there are a wide variety of ways of accessing consumers.
To help you understand direct marketing, read Direct Marketing – Getting Started. An important element in direct marketing your products is setting a price. Pricing your Product helps you understand various methods of setting a price for your product. A companion Budgeting Tool is available to help you estimate and compare the returns from selling your produce through various types of direct marketing outlets.
For more information on this topic, see the links listed below of articles posted on related Web sites.
- Direct Marketing as a Value-Added Opportunity for Agriculture – Ohio State University Extension -- As agricultural producers find it more difficult to make ends meet with diminishing profit margins from increasing input costs and shrinking commodity prices, more emphasis is being placed on adding value to those products with processing.
- Alternative Markets for the Individual Producer – North Dakota State University Extension -- The producer considering alternative crop and livestock market possibilities to capture additional profit margins needs a framework for making initial crop, livestock and marketing decisions.
- Farm Direct Marketing for Rural Producers – Ropin’ the Web, Alberta Government -- This factsheet discusses some of the basic components and strategies of farm direct marketing agricultural products and services.
- Managing your Products Directly – University of Arkansas – More producers are exploring direct marketing strategies in an attempt to increase farm profitability.
- An Overview of Small Farm Direct Marketing – University of Florida Extension -- Direct marketing refers to selling that is based on a personal, one-to-one relationship that ties farmers and consumers together.
- Characteristics of Direct Marketing Alternatives – Direct Marketing and Tourism Handbook, University of Arizona – To help you decide which marketing options best fits your operation.
- Direct Farm Marketing Options – Direct Marketing and Tourism Handbook, University of Arizona – There are several approaches to direct marketing and all have pros and cons.
- Farm Outlet Customer Profiles – Direct Marketing and Tourism Handbook, University of Arizona – Who are the visitors to direct farm marketing operations and what are they looking for?
- Sizing up the Marketing Winds for Direct Marketing – Direct Marketing and Tourism Handbook, University of Arizona – General market trends are an important consideration, even for direct marketers.
- Marketing Channels: Selling Directly to Consumers – Government of Alberta -- Selling direct is suited to specialized products or a small number of customers. While it eliminates the middleman, the processor takes on most of the marketing and distribution functions.
- Articles on Direct Marketing – SalesVantage.com – Articles on a variety of topics relating to direct marketing.
- Growing for Market - This national newsletter for direct market farmers frequently includes case studies, along with detailed information on direct marketing.
- Domestic Fair Trade Association - This association is made up of individuals from farmer, worker, retail and consumer organizations.
- Selling Food Products - A Business From Your Home – Iowa State University -- Finding a market, studying the competition, licensing, facilities and appliances, food cost pricing, marketing, promotion, food processing and safety.
- Direct Marketing Guide for Producers of Fruits, Vegetables and Other Specialty Products – University of Tennessee Extension – When producers become the “retailers,” they have the opportunity to sell at or slightly above retail supermarket prices and avoid for the services of wholesalers and retailers.
- Assessing Risk and Financing Requirements in Direct Marketing -- Direct Marketing and Tourism Handbook, University of Arizona -- This provides some tips and tools to help you understand your market and the associated risks and finances required.
- Product Positioning for Direct Marketing – Direct Marketing and Tourism Handbook, University of Arizona – Product positioning (low price, good service, accessibility, quality) means what consumers think of your product when they buy it.
- Examining Insurance Needs is Essential to Marketing – Direct Marketing and Tourism Handbook, University of Arizona – Insurance is as necessary as quality products or a good location in a direct marketing operation.
- How Growers can Reduce Liability Risk – Direct Marketing and Tourism Handbook, University of Arizona – Basic business practices can be used to help reduce likelihood of liability suits being filed.
- Direct Mailings as an Advertising Strategy – Direct Marketing and Tourism Handbook, University of Arizona – Sending information by mail directly to customers can be a very effective advertising strategy.
- Direct Marketing Advertising and Promotion – Direct Marketing and Tourism Handbook, University of Arizona – If potential customers don’t know about your product, your chances of success are limited.
- Product Pricing for Direct Marketers – Direct Marketing and Tourism Handbook, University of Arizona – Do consumers not buy your product because of price, or are there other reasons.
- Business Plans are More Important than Ever – Direct Marketing and Tourism Handbook, University of Arizona – A business plan outline.
- Training Help Farm Market Employees Succeed – Direct Marketing and Tourism Handbook, University of Arizona – No matter how carefully you select your employees, they will not come to the job with all the skills they need.
- Fruit and Vegetable Marketing for Small-scale and Part-time Growers - Penn State University, Agricultural Alternatives -- This site outlines the types of markets that fruit and vegetable growers may use and how to evaluate market demand.
- Produce Handling for Direct Marketing – Northeast Region Agricultural Engineering Service – A charge publications focusing on recommendations for handling produce including refrigeration, equipment, harvest, transportation, storage and display.
- Farmers Market Price Reports - Ag Marketing Service, USDA -- Wholesale and farmers’ market prices are listed at this site.
- Marketing Strategies for Farmers and Ranchers – Sustainable Agriculture Network -- How to get started in alternative marketing enterprises including numerous examples of people using such strategies in the field.
- Direct Marketing – National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service -- Direct marketing alternatives—with emphasis on niche, specialty and value–added crops—features many farm case studies, as well as information on enterprise budgets and promotion/publicity. A new section discusses implications of Internet marketing and e–commerce for agriculture.
- Direct Marketing of Farm Produce and Home Goods - University of Wisconsin - Direct marketing alternatives and strategies for beginning and established producers.
Regulations and Legal
- Legal Structure Rules and Regulations for Direct Marketing Enterprises – Direct Marketing and Tourism Handbook, University of Arizona – Nearly all marketing activities are impacted by federal, state, county and city ordinances, rules and regulations.
- Farmer Direct Marketing Bibliography - Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA, 2001 -- This site complies a bibliography of various documents concerning farmer direct marketing.
- In the Eyes of the Law, Legal Issues Associated with Direct Farm Marketing - University of Minnesota - 2002 - This publication, authored by attorneys, provides insight into liability issues and steps to reduce risks any time the public comes onto farm property. The publication costs $10 per copy. To order by phone, call 612-624-4900.
- A Business Checklist for Direct Marketers – Federal Trade Commission -- This brochure is written for mail, telephone, fax and computer order merchandisers to give them an overview of rules or statutes that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces.
- Managing Risk for Farm Direct and Ag Tourism Ventures – Agriculture, Food and Rural Development -- Discusses some of the basic components of risk management for farm direct marketing and ag tourism ventures as it relates to liability issues.
- Drake University Law School, Agricultural Law Center - Neil Hamilton is the author of the Legal Guide for Direct Farm Marketing. Cost: $20. Contact the bookstore at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Weights and Processed Yields of Fruits and Vegetables in Retail Containers – University of Georgia Extension -- Retail or direct marketing at farmers' markets, roadside markets, stands and pick-your-own farms is an important and growing method of marketing fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Articles on Telemarketing – SalesVantage.com – Articles on a variety of topics relating to telemarketing.
Links checked April 2011.