Strategies for direct marketing

(Shared by Amanda Walter, Business Intern with OSU South Centers)

Written by Tim Berry of Palo Alto Software

About Direct Marketing

As we discussed in Direct Marketing Fudamentals, direct marketing includes various approaches in which the producer of goods or services directly contacts the end-user. Direct marketing encompasses face-to-face selling, direct mail, catalogs, kiosks, telemarketing, and more. Regardless of the form you choose, there are some critical considerations.

Targeted Campaigns

The criteria for direct marketing begins with a reliable customer database. Other factors include offering greater customer value through a more customized and personalized approach for product and service offerings, distribution processes tailored to meet the needs of customers, and the opportunity to build customer loyalty.

One of the first criteria for direct marketing is to have a consistent customer profile available which describes the dominant target markets. This information must have sufficient detail to support a customer database.

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Social Media Class – June 20th

(Shared by Melissa Carter, Business Advisor, Small Business Development Center)

Next Wednesday, June 20th, there will be a Social Media class offered at the OSU South Centers.  This class will focus on:

  • New and trending tips for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube
  • Generating good reviews and managing negative reviews
  • Creating relevant content

There will also be time for open Q&A for any questions or issues you may have with your social media.

Register at:


Take Your Business Outside

(Written by Melissa Carter, Business Advisor, OSU South Centers Small Business Development Center)

If you have a store front business, the recent weather has provided a great time to take your business outside. Hold sidewalk sales to gain visibility and new sales. Here’s a few ways to increase your business:

  • Provide variety – appeal to a variety of clients and offer different items.
  • Impulse buys – Just because your products are outside does not mean you need to discount them. Seeing a product out front may create an impulse buy for a consumer and won’t realize it is not on sale.
  • Work with your neighbors – talk with other businesses on your block and all decide what day(s) are best to hold sidewalk sales – then promote collaboratively!
  • Prop your doors open – This encourages browsers to come inside.
  • Signage – Don’t want to put your product outside? Just get a sign to prop up outside with a call to action written on it. New sale? New product? Put it on a sign to catch the eye of passersby.

Sidewalk sales are great for businesses who may not fully know what is in your store. Have staff available to stay outside with your product or at least able to keep an eye on the outside.


Is your farm MarketReady™?

(Submitted by Ivory Harlow, Ohio Cooperative Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Farm and Dairy at
By Ivory Harlow
Published October 6, 2017

MarketReady™ Producer Training will be held October 20, 2017, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Is your farm or food business market ready for 2018, or do you need help getting locally produced food products to market?

If you could use some assistance to expand your marketing channels, the MarketReady™ Producer Training is for you. MarketReady™ is an education program for farmers and individuals interested in starting or expanding a food business. Increasing demand for locally produced food provides an opportunity for local producers to sell their farm fresh products direct to restaurants, grocers, wholesalers and institutions. The program began as a University of Kentucky initiative, led by Dr. Tim Woods.

“[There is] tons and tons of opportunity in terms of a demand for local foods, but the challenge is just getting our producers up to speed to be able to bring the quality, consistency, and volume of product that these buyers are looking for,” Woods said in an interview with WalletHub.

MarketReady™ teaches farmers professional marketing skills. The curriculum covers market evaluation, packaging, pricing, relationship building, logistics, quality assurance and other key business functions.

MarketReady™ teaches farmers how to label and package products in a way that appeals to customers.

“I’m a farmer, not a marketer,” a local producer confessed. He underestimated the importance of product packaging when he started selling to grocers.

“Large corporations have entire teams dedicated to branding; my product packaging has to compete.”

Pricing products appropriately for various market channels is a challenge. On one hand, farmers need to price products at a rate that buyers are willing to pay; On the other hand, farmers must price products to support their business’s viability over the long-term. MarketReady™ helps producers develop a pricing strategy that meets buyers needs as well as their own.

Read more…

Going Live!

(Submitted by Melissa Carter, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Social media is ever-changing and evolving. First, all you had to do to gain views was post. Then, you needed to add pictures to a post. Now, video and livestreaming is increasingly popular.

Pressing that Live button can be daunting on Facebook, but for a business, it’s a great way to provide a tour of your facility, new product launches, cooking demonstration, or just a way to answer questions from your followers. Facebook Live will save on your timeline for followers to watch whenever they can.

Some helpful tips before you create a Facebook Live video for your business.
• Make sure you have a reliable signal – strong WIFI or 4G
• Promote your upcoming broadcast
• Minimize background noise
• Write a compelling description
• Purchase a mount/tripod – this is great to stabilize your phone
• Introduce yourself and allow people a minute or two to join the stream
• Be human, engaging, and interactive
• End your video with a call to action and thank viewers for watching

Understand the Different Components of Marketing

(Submitted by Ryan Mapes, Manager, Endeavor Center and Program Leader, Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

Marketing, Advertising, Branding and Public Relations are not the same. It is very important as a business owner to understand the concepts and differences of the terms.

presentation-1311169_1920Marketing begins as early as the research and development stage and involves market research, product development, pricing, sales strategies, distribution, advertising and public relations. A marketing plan is a comprehensive document that outlines a company’s marketing efforts for the coming year. It describes business activities involved in accomplishing specific marketing objectives within a set time frame. The purpose of a marketing plan is to clearly show what steps or actions will be taken to achieve company goals.

Advertising is a means of communication with the users of a product or service. This is a strategy or component of the overall marketing plan. Advertisements are messages paid for by those who send them and are intended to inform or influence people who receive them. Advertising is only one part of the marketing process.

Branding is a concept that extends far beyond the marketing of “brand name” products. A company’s brand represents their market identity such as who they are, what they do, and what kind of quality they provide. A company’s brand can be directly influenced by the company’s mission and vision statements and should always be consistent with the marketing process.

Public relation is about selling the company or brand through positively managing the communication channels between a company and its stakeholders. Overall, marketing activities are trying to achieve direct revenue, while public relation is a continuous process to drive and maintain a positive company reputation.

Carter Speaks at National Conference

(Submitted by Brad Bapst, Director, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

melissa-national-sbdc-conf-aMelissa Carter, a Business Advisor with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the OSU South Centers, presented a seminar session at the America’s SBDC Conference in Orlando,
melissa-national-sbdc-conf-2Florida in September. Carter was selected to present “Navigating Online Marketing for Clients” which covered topics such as understanding and utilizing social media, managing website content and optimization, and tips to increase online visibility for businesses.
melissa-national-sbdc-conf-2aOver 75 individuals attended the ninety-minute session.

Annually, the America’s SBDC Conference is held to provide professional development and networking opportunities to Business Advisors and Directors throughout the country. Over 1400 individuals attended the September conference.

How Uber, Airbnb, and Etsy Attracted Their First 1,000 Customers

(Shared by Christie Welch, Program Specialist, Direct Agricultural Marketing, OSU South Centers)

Posted on July 13, 2016
by HBS Working Knowledge – Harvard Business School
Michael Blanding

New businesses often struggle finding their first customers. The challenge is even more difficult with startups in the sharing economy that launch as platforms connecting independent service providers with consumers.

Take Uber. Its platform is two-sided, connecting people who need rides with people who have rides to offer. (Same idea as Airbnb, which connects people needing rooms with home-owners.) So to launch as a platform service, these companies need to find users on both the supply and demand sides. More

Cottage Foods & Farmers Markets Workshop–Canfield, Ohio

(Submitted by Christie Welch, Program Specialist, Direct Agricultural Marketing, OSU South Centers)

ScreenHunter_775 Jul. 07 12.06Friday, July 15, 2016
11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Join us for a workshop for food entrepreneurs, farmers market managers, farmers market managers and more!

This three-hour workshop will focus on cottage foods and home bakery licenses. Learn the food safety reasons behind Ohio law for Cottage Foods, including why certain foods are able to be made in the home without inspection and some are not. This program also helps food producers understand labeling and ways to determine if a recipe is ready for the market.

Questions: 330-533-5538