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NALF Line | February 2013

It’s that time of year again, spring sale season. The time when producers heavily advertise in an effort to market their stock to not only previous customers, but hoping to attract new ones.

When it comes to marketing cattle, Texas cattle producer Carlos X. Guerra, said it best, “We can love them, breed them, promote them and show them, but if we cannot market these cattle, we cannot survive.”

This statement rings true on many levels. Marketing is vital to any business regardless of the industry, but it seems to be especially important in the seedstock industry. In many cases, the eventual selling price of an animal is not only determined by the quality of the animal, but also the marketing efforts of the producer. It is important to remember the marketing job is not complete until a sales transaction has taken place and the check has cleared.
Currently, there are more professionals involved in the sale, promotion and marketing of cattle than ever before. Advertising and promotional campaigns are more important now than they have been in the past, because
the competition amongst sales is continuing to intensify. Producers are being forced to use more marketing functions in order to conduct successful marketing campaigns.

Marketing should be a strategic process that is carefully planned, executed and evaluated. Each producer has their own method they believe is the most effective when it comes to marketing and promoting their respective operation.

Although this time of year tends to be when producers are doing a big push in advertising, since we are in the midst of spring sales, it is important for producers to continue their advertising efforts throughout the year in order to stay in front of buyers. For instance, during the summer, producers should start an early promotion for fall production sales; during the fall months producers should focus heavily on promoting fall production sales. When winter rolls around, producers should begin the promotion of sire prospects and then, throughout the spring, producers should focus on spring bull and semen sales.

Due to the competitiveness between breeds and breeders, it is important to constantly advertise and promote your operation. Producers need to take an aggressive approach to promotion and advertising in order to market their stock and stay ahead of the competition. While constant advertising campaigns can be pricey, and I think it’s fair to say that due to the current economic crisis and the lack of cooperation from Mother Nature over the past two years, producers are looking for different marketing avenues in order to cut advertising costs. However, producers need to remember when they are looking to cut corners it often takes two or three advertisements before producers start to see results.

If producers are looking for a cost-free way to connect with customers and potential customers they can utilize social media. Now I realize some of you may have just rolled your eyes at the mention of using social media to promote your operation, as many think of Facebook as merely a fad. While Facebook may or may not be a fad, that is yet to be determined, it is still an outlet that can be used to connect with customers and fellow breeders basically all over the world. The younger generation especially is connected to technology more than ever thanks to smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. It is important to remember to try to connect with this group of producers as they are the future of not only our breed, but the beef industry as a whole. While this method of marketing isn’t for everyone, it is important to keep an open mind when exploring the opportunity.

What the membership may not realize is that NALF has opportunities available to our membership to help promote and market their cattle. e-Blasts, website banners and print advertisements in the Bottom Line are all available to the members. In case you aren’t familiar with these opportunities, let me explain:

e-Blast: A one-page advertisement sent to more than 4,000 electronic contacts. This advertisement can be linked to your operation’s website or sale catalog. These can be sent out anytime.

e-Partners Banner: A banner advertisement placed in NALF’s bi-monthly e-Newsletter. This banner can be linked to your operation’s website or sale catalog. The e-Partners newsletter is distributed to more than 2,500 contacts. There are only three banner advertisements permitted for each e-Newsletter, and they are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

NALF Website: The NALF website currently receives an average of 15,000 hits daily. There is a banner spot available to the membership on a first-come, first-served basis.

Bottom Line: The Bottom Line is the commercial publication NALF produces quarterly in cooperation with Limousin World. The distribution list has grown to include more than 25,000 Limousin customers, commercial producers, potential customers, veterinary clinics, feedlots and universities. Besides having the option to purchase advertising space, breeders can purchase a “Breeders Spotlight” in the directory section for one flat fee for the year.

If you are interested in any of these services, contact the NALF office. Also, don’t forget to utilize Limousin World and its’ staff in your marketing efforts.

Putting the marketing talk aside, it is important to remember this is more than just the livestock business; it is a people business. Public relations, customer service and the overall likeability of producers are keys to having a successful operation.

It can’t be stressed enough the importance of customer service. This is an industry heavily influenced by producers who constantly work and do business together; so having strong customer service and integrity are key components in establishing loyal, returning customers. Establishing a strong customer service protocol is simple: treat your customers the way you want to be treated. By expressing true, sincere interest in your customer’s success you add value to your operation.

Regardless of where you are in your marketing efforts, there is always room for improvement and the opportunity to experiment with new tactics. Don’t forget that marketing, advertising and promotion are ongoing and always require attention.

If there is anything the NALF staff can do to assist you with your marketing plans, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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