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You Gotta Believe It's Worth the Effort

Published on: 00:07AM Jul 15, 2009
A reader of my last blog post about USDA reports commented on how unpredictable the markets are. EXACTLY! Unless you can accurately predict the weather, or what the government is going to do or say, you will never be able to predict prices. And if you try to predict, and you’re wrong, you spend your time feeling frustrated and wrong.
 
I talked to a producer just this week who quipped, “Marketing isn’t fun because you are never right. Unless you hit the top every time, there are always regrets.”
 
All this emotion leads producers to believe that marketing simply cannot be done well. It’s a no-win situation… You are beat up by everyone and everything… You have no control. When I speak at Purdue University next Monday, I plan to help dispel these myths and help listeners start believing that marketing can be done well.

The first step in accomplishing a task is to believe that it can be accomplished.
 
Experience has not been kind to many producers. They’ve tried cash marketing, fundamental analysis, technical analysis, futures, options, average pricing programs at the elevator; they have tried it all. Yet year-in and year-out, they are still dissatisfied with marketing. (At our workshops, 91 percent of producers we survey find marketing stressful.) What they learn is that no amount of experience and no number of commodity advisors they try ever seems to make enough difference in their bottom line to make it worth the bother.
 
Part of the reason for such failure is the faulty premise that it takes a good and accurate market outlook to do marketing well. As I’ve said before, marketing based on outlook is guesswork. So change your approach! Why not? You’ve tried everything else! Try this approach instead:
 
  • Develop a strategic approach to the market vs. an outlook-based approach
  • Develop the discipline to act according to your strategy
  • Allow your strategy to remove the emotion from your marketing process

To become a good marketer, or to work effectively with a professional marketing advisor, you have to start with the belief that marketing can be done well, and that there is substantial reward for doing it well.
For many producers, past experience would not support this belief. Yet it is not a misplaced belief, and it is one that is absolutely necessary to the survival and the prosperity of farms across the country.

May you be one of the prosperous believers!

Scott Stewart is president and CEO of Stewart-Peterson, a commodity marketing education and advisory firm based in West Bend, Wis. You may reach Scott at 800-334-9779 or email him at scotts@stewart-peterson.com.