> Nate Kitzinger says the Marketing Assessment Profile made him think about what he was and was not doing well.
Nate Kitzinger of Titonka, Iowa, recognizes the importance of marketing to his 1,300-acre operation and says he is “always looking for an edge in the market.” So when he learned of the Marketing Assess-ment Profile (MAP) designed by Scott Stewart of Stewart-Peterson Advisory Group, he saw it as an opportunity to identify areas where he could improve.
“It mainly confirmed my impressions of myself,” he says. “But it was helpful to go through the process and get an outside take on how I’m doing.”
The idea behind MAP is to identify the “constraints” (see below) in your grain marketing program. “Evaluate your marketing process the same way you evaluate your crop enterprise and the other segments of your operation,” Stewart advises.
Four Areas. The assessment, which takes about 20 minutes, is a series of questions in four areas: your knowledge of markets, your risk tolerance, how much time you have for marketing and your personality type (how you react to market moves, for example). Your answers are rated on a scale to identify opportunities for improvement.
“Your limitation might be lack of knowledge of the available tools, lack of time to properly employ those tools or difficulty in making the decision to pull the trigger,” Stewart says. “Learning more about the tools won’t help you if you already understand them. Instead, you might need to carve out time for marketing or hire a consultant.”
Kitzinger has used marketing advisers in the past, but MAP made him see special value in having one when he is busy in the field. “There’s a benefit in having someone help me make decisions in advance, summarize our goals and then remind me at the right time,” he says.
Less Uncertainty. “In our years of working with producers, we’ve found that uncertainty in marketing is a key limiting factor,” Stewart says. “Producers who are uncertain either freeze and do nothing or make costly mistakes. We aim to help producers gain confidence with this personalized profile.”
Stewart is so convinced MAP is worth the time that the company is offering $100 to producers who honestly feel it wasn’t worthwhile—not bad for a free service!
Tracing MAP’s Roots
The idea behind the Marketing Assessment Profile (MAP) took root in Scott Stewart’s mind after hearing a speaker talk about Eliyahu Goldratt’s book The Goal, which discusses his Theory of Constraints. This theory states that at any given point in time, a business has at least one constraint that limits its performance relative to its goal.
“I was surprised to learn that the Theory of Constraints has its roots in agriculture,” Stewart says. “Liebig’s Law, defined in 1828, states that plant growth is controlled not by the total resources available, but by the scarcest resource—the limiting factor.
“I set out to develop an assessment tool that would help producers uncover the limiting factors in their marketing,” he explains. “We’ve been doing MAPs with producers since the fall of 2008.”
Hear more from Scott Stewart at the Top Producer Seminar in January 2011. For more information, visit www.TopProducerSeminar.com.