Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Marketing Plan Basics

I empowered all of you to build your business a little more each day usings Marketing/Advertising with S.M.A.R.T. goals in November 2010.  Today,  I want to be specific about a marketing plan that includes those smart goals. 

Ask yourself the following questions:
1 - Is my marketing dollars being spent with a specific ROI in mind?
2 - Am I advertising with specific goals or a target audience in mind?
3 - Do I know if my advertising is working? 
4 - Do I have a marketing plan? 
5 - Is my marketing plan actionable ? 

If you answered "No" to 3 or more of these questions - then this post is for you!  Take control of your advertising and marketing today and steer your business like a fully restored cherry 69 Chevy Chevelle (large, well built, and enough muscle to weather any condition the road may offer)!!!

Here is a basic marketing plan outline to follow - it is not necessary for any one to critique this - as it is for you - a roadmap to navigate your business to increase ROI and profitability and perhaps make your business successful enough that you no longer need that 9 to 5 job to support the pacas.   You will need either a spearate plan for each area of your business that you want to focus on or at least a different "segment" of each area of your business so that you can measure how each segment is doing and focus on different marketing for each.  Marketing segmentation may also be done demographically or geographically, but I think the following applies to the alpaca world:    
1 - Animal Sales (can further break down to fiber males, companion, breeding female, herdsires, jr herdsires etc etc)
2 - Stud Sales
3 - Product Sales
4 - Seminars at your farm
5 - Showing

This is a very basic outline to get you started - please contact me for consulting expertise.


I.   Executive Summary

I usually wait to write this until all other sections are filled out - this is a high level synopsis of the plan/goals.

II.   The Goals

What do you want to accomplish?  What are you going to market? What are your goals?  Be specific as to numbers, percentages or strategic goals. 

III.   Situation Analysis

Company Analysis
Customer Analysis
  • Number of current 
  • Number of leads (qualified/unqualified)
  • Type of customers (animal sales, product sales, stud fees, etc)
  • Value drivers
  • Decision process
  • Concentration of customer base for particular products
Competitor Analysis
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Collaboration, partnerships etc.

IV.   Segmentation

Present a description of the market segmentation as follows:
Segment 1 (Perhaps Animal Sales) 
  • Description
  • Percent of sales
  • What your customers want
  • How they use/consume product
  • Support requirements
  • How to reach them
  • Price sensitivity

Segment 2
etc etc

V. Strategies


The product decisions should consider the product's advantages and how they will be leveraged. Product decisions should include:
  • Quality
  • Scope of product line
  • Warranty
  • Packaging 
  • Brand Name (lineage or commercial products) 


Discuss pricing strategy, expected volume, and decisions for the following pricing variables:
  • List price
  • Discounts
  • Bundling
  • Payment terms and financing options

Distribution (Place)

Decision variables include:
  • Where to advertise 
  • Product distribution (products)
  • Locations
  • Logistics, including transportation, warehousing, and order fulfilment


  • Advertising, including how much and which media.
  • Public relations
  • Promotional programs
  • Budget; determine break-even point for any additional spending
  • Projected results of the promotional programs

VII.   Short & Long-Term Projections

What do you want to accomplish for each segment in:
1 - this year
2 - 2 years
3 - 5 years
4 - 10 years

VIII.   Conclusion

Summarize all of the above.


It does seem like a lot of work and a lot of projecting, but remember I always say "Ideas and Passion without goals are simply dreams"©

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rumors, lies and innuendo

In light of a recent email I recently received disparaging a fellow alpaca owner, I thought it appropriate to get on my soapbox today.  Sorry in advance if I babble!

One of my most favorite quotes is "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer" - Machiavelli, read more and you will understand my thoughts.

As the economy spirals further down and people become more fearful and desperate; lies, rumors and innuendo about their competition become rampant.   It seems the biggest rumors are about those who are successful.  I guess you know you "made it" when you are the subject of other people's conversations.  I guess it is the same as why there are so many tabloid publications for the "stars" or the "rich and famous", so too is a tabloid for the alpaca industry.  It is disguised in comments and threads on Facebook, Alpacasite, the AN chat boards and other chat places around the internet.  Most alpaca people are smart enough to not come out and say a name directly, but others are not that smart and open themselves up for civil prosecution.   I for one am sick of hearing the same things about the same people.  I am sick about people calling me and telling me you know what I heard "so and so did"?  It is worse than high school.  And really I don't care! While I would want to know what is said about me - most people are not upfront enough to discuss that rumor mill with the person in question . . for fear of hurting a person's feelings.

I owned a consulting company for 15 years and NEVER did I see this type of behavior go on.  It is truly childish and immature!! Grow up people!  Get a life!  Focus on your fiber !!  Save the energy!

I will admit, I am very opinionated, but I don't hide that and I tell my prospective customers, if you don't like me - then don't buy an animal from me because we have a long road ahead of us.  Most people appreciate my honesty.  Most people come to me because of it and the comments/opinions of my blog and FB statuses.   I will not engage in the rumor mongering!

I want to leave you with one thought:  the next time you are speaking to someone and they start talking negatively about another breeder, ask yourself, what does this person say ABOUT ME behind my back to others?  If you follow that one piece of advice, and stop the conversation in it's tracks, you will save yourself a lot of aggravation.  I say this from experience!  I for one, will not play into the rumor mill or the recent email I received disparaging someone else.  I do not know that person personally so I will not judge him.  If I was REALLY interested (which I am not), I would call the person who was the subject of the email and ask for his side of the story.  But again - I am not that interested other than the fodder it gave me for today's post :)

Happy breeding and Yarn On ©