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RSS By: Chris Barron

Chris BarronHave a margins question? Through this blog, you will gain insight into improving your bottom line, as a margins expert answers questions and provides farm business advice.


Track Your Marketing

Feb 27, 2011

How do you track your marketing? I've observed several interesting methods as I've worked with producers over the last couple of years. One method I often see is the process of stacking contracts on the desk or in a file in the order of which they were sold. When the producer wants to know where they're at they simply tally up the totals. Another method I see used quite often is recording sales in a notebook. One common problem I've found with this process is occasionally the notebook grows legs and disappears.
The final method I see occasionally is the grower tries to remember sales in their head. This method is okay until something happens to your head or by chance you happen to forget about a contract or two. Generally I find these growers will contact the elevator before harvest to get a summary of what’s been sold and often the producer is surprised by the information on the summary.
With the volatility we are faced with in the markets, it's absolutely critical to have concise and reliable internal marketing information. For example, if we know with absolute certainty our percent sold and bushels per acre sold at any given time we can make much more effective decisions. If we know at a glance that we are precisely 25% sold we can calculate in an instant an additional specific percentage sale.
Another possible complexity that needs to be tracked accurately is multiple sales locations. This is another area where I see challenges in keeping track of precisely what we have sold unless we have a condensed single tracking system. As our operations grow and we make different decisions with different farms, different entities, and different elevators the tracking challenge becomes more complicated.
I’ve found that tracking marketing sales on a basic spreadsheet to be the most effective method. This information can be easily e-mailed to lenders, processors, landlords, or partners which helps keep the document a living and accurate tool. If you form the habit of recording sales each and every time they are made the spreadsheet will do the rest of the work for you. By having this information at your fingertips you've just empowered yourself with information which will ultimately improve you’re marketing by virtue of accurate information. Over time keeping this information becomes even more valuable as you can study trends and pass information from year to year.
Here is an example worksheet that I've used for years which is very basic but can empower you with instant information and a realistic picture of your current marketing position.
Ask A Margins Expert

If you would like more information on systems for tracking your marketing send me an e mail with your questions. 

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