A Marketing Plan is typically one part of a full business plan. Like all parts of the business plan, it can be pared down for a “lite” plan or filled with details for a complete plan that you are taking to your lender.
- You can view some marketing plan examples as part of the business plan examples on this site.
- Mplans.com offers an extensive marketing plan example for a mixed greens produce farm
Primary Data – Information You Gather Directly
One of the simplest ways to do some preliminary market research is to talk about your product ideas and research the products you are thinking about growing, processing, or selling. Some examples:
- Ask your friends and family what they think about your ideas—do they think that the product will sell? Would they buy it? Would their friends buy it? How much would they buy and how frequently would they buy it?
- Visit people in a different part of the state who are growing, processing, or selling similar products. Many farm businesses are quite open and friendly to visitors. In some cases, these businesses are willing to help get you started with some good advice on what to do & what not to do.
- Contact your local extension office or organization (use the “Other Local Contacts” and Who Can Help map on this site to help find them). Ask them about their experiences with farm businesses that are producing similar products. Ask them about meetings and industry groups that might be pertinent for you to attend.
- Conduct a survey of customers of an existing market (like a grocery store or farmers market) or of your target audience of potential customers. Keep it short, 5-6 questions, and ask permission from the market manager before conducting the survey with their customers.
- If you are going to wholesale your product, visit the wholesaler! Have the wholesaler tell you what they want and how they want it packaged—maybe it is something different than what you had in mind.
- Remember that you will have to test these ideas further when you prepare your full business plan.
Secondary Data – Sources for Demographic and Pricing Information
- The fact sheet Finding Price Information from the Guide to Farming in NY lists several sources and tips for finding information on pricing your products.
- MarketMaker “is rich with demographic and business data that the user can query. Details can be summarized on a map to show concentrations of consumer markets and strategic business partners. Providing this kind of information in a map-based format makes much more sense than business lists and statistical tables.”"Census data is also a feature of the site. For example, a producer wanting to sell meat to Hispanic consumers can request a map showing the greatest concentration of upper-income Hispanic households, then request a complete demographic profile of those locations.” (text taken directly from NY MarketMaker website)