Helpful hints for marketing your livestock project

Considering the five Ps of marketing for your livestock project can be a beneficial marketing strategy.

Every business engages in some form of marketing. A key concept to developing a marketing plan is to get the right product at the right time, at the right price in the right place to the right people. Right?

As confusing as it may seem, these principals are part of the five Ps of marketing. It is essential to understand how the five Ps relate to a livestock auction in order to market your livestock project. Using the information and questions below will give you a better grip on the five Ps and how to effectively market your livestock project to potential buyers.

  1. Product. This P represents what you are selling: describe it to the best of your ability. Do some research on the type of animal you are selling and the unique qualities that breed or species may have. Identify the unique qualities, features and benefits of your product as well as those of your competition, and compare them. Some livestock related product features may include selection of breed, breeder, characteristics of animal, care of animal (humanely-treated), grooming, feed used (i.e. organically fed), health record, Pork Quality Assurance training, good/ bad carcass evaluation or the 4-H name. To get you started thinking about your product, ask yourself:
    • How does your product compare with the competition?
    • What need or demand does your product fill?
  2. Price. Price is directly related to cost and expenses. How can you ensure your customers know the minimum bid amount you need to cover the cost of your product (your break-even point)? Everyone’s goal to offer an acceptable price while still making a profit. To lower that threshold, you could consider reducing the cost of your product, which includes the purchase price, the type of feed, type housing and health care expenses. To get you started thinking about your price, ask yourself:
    • What is the current market value of your product?
    • What price do competitors receive for comparable products?
    • What are ways that I can reduce my cost/expenses?
  3. Place. Place is the venue where you promote your product and the location where your customer purchases your product. Besides the livestock auction, other examples of place include the internet, retail stores, wholesale stores or direct sale to customers. These are good places to keep in mind if you need to sell an alternate livestock animal or livestock by-products. The most important thing about place is that you need to get your product to the customer where and when they want it. In the case of a livestock auction, it is getting the customer to the product and then getting the product to the customer. Make sure your customers know the where, when and how of the livestock auction. Some questions to ask yourself about the process include:
    • Does the customer understand the livestock auction process?
    • Does the customer know the order of the sale?
    • Is the auction atmosphere appealing?
    • Are there incentives for them to stay longer during the auction (i.e. is there food and refreshments?)?
    • Is the place accessible to all?
    • Is there enough seating?
  4. Promotion. This is the way you inform potential customers about your product through advertising. Examples of promotional advertising include signs, posters, brochures, flyers, direct mailings, presentations, press releases, news articles, business cards, word of mouth, buyer letters, reminder cards, recognition of past buyers, e-mail marketing, display boards, website development and social media (Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, Google+, Tumblr, etc.). Public relations also falls within promotion and could include the 4-H brand, as well as your own reputation. When considering promotion, ask yourself:
    • How does the customer learn about my product and sales?
  5. People. These are your potential customers/buyers or your intended target market. This includes your personal contacts, businesses, industries and organizations that have a need or demand for your product. It is important to build your network and establish new customer relationships as often as you can, which grows the number of people you can market your products to. Once you have your target market (buyers) identified, the most important question to ask yourself is:
    • What is the buyer’s motivation for purchasing an animal at a livestock auction? Speak to this motivation in your marketing plans.

Creating a blend of the five Ps of marketing – product, place, price, promotion and people (target market) – will help you to develop an effective marketing plan for your livestock project. A good marketing plan will increase awareness and strengthen a customer’s likelihood of purchasing your product, while consistent and continued marketing makes buyers more likely to repurchase year after year. The more Ps you cover in your plan, the better your chance for success!

To assist youth in creating a stronger, more effective strategy for marketing livestock projects, Michigan State University Extension educators are currently developing a livestock marketing curriculum. The current curriculum has many lessons in the pilot stage. If are willing to test out a few lessons as one of the first recipients of this curriculum, contact an MSU Extension educator or local program coordinator focused on career education and workforce preparation.


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