Thursday, July 7, 2011

For My Ag Ed Friends

I was helping a student develop a case study/project he could use for final project developing a lesson plan for agriculture education last week and developed this rough case study. You could vamp it up a little or use as is if you think it would be helpful for students. I think it would be great for a freshman or sophomore level class. It requires use of the scientific process to evaluate an income/marketing issue on a farm and then requires the students to present a marketing plan to help the farm.

Grannie's Greenhouse
Grannie’s Greenhouse is located in a rural area.  It is a family run business in conjunction to a farm. They have been operating three greenhouses on their property for over 10 years. Update costs in the last two years have been very expensive. The farm breaks even and usually makes slight profits based on the farm operation from year to year but counts on the greenhouses for their additional income and profit.  During the last two years sales have significantly declined. Grannie’s Greenhouse would like to hire you to help them understand any issues they are having and to develop a new marketing plan.

Here are some things to know about Grannie’s:

Farm and Greenhouse
Grannie’s family farm grows peaches, apples, plums, and hay. They also make many homemade products which are sold off the farm at several farmers markets.
Three greenhouses that grow ferns, annuals, and some starter vegetables
The greenhouses usually combine for an income of $10,000 per year.
The past two years have only provided $6,000 and $4,000 each year.
Two years ago a Lowe’s was built between the interstate major traffic and Grannie’s.
Grannie’s does not want to change much about their farm production products.
Grannie’s has a $5,000 budget for the marketing plan that you team develops.  (Plus the cost of your firm.)

Use the scientific process to work your way through this case study.
What is the problem?
What does your research tell you?
What do you hypothesize? What are your intended results?
What is your planned procedure?
What materials do you need? (At what costs?)
When will your “experiment” time occur for this plan?
How will you analyze results? What is you evaluation method?
Share the results with others
Then develop a marketing plan based on the given information that you would share with the owners of Grannie’s. (Based on National FFA Marketing Plan CDE Scoring)
1.     Analysis of market – “Where are we now?” “Why were we hired?” (10 points)
a. Industry trends.
b. Buyer profile and behavior.
c. Competition’s strengths and weakness.
d. Your product’s/firm’s strengths and weakness.
e. Original research results.

2.     Business Proposition – “Where do we want to be?” (5 points)
a. Key planning assumptions. (cite sources of information)
b. Measurable and attainable goals – must be measurable, have completion dates, be specific and attainable.
c. Target market – identify specific market segments which achieve your goals.

      3. Strategies and Action Plan – How and when will we get there? (10 points)
a. Product attributes: size, quality, service, etc.
b. How will you distribute and sell?
1) marketing channels
2) physical distribution modes
c. What will be the price structure?
d. How will you promote the products? Which promotional activities, or combinations of activities, are appropriate for your product or service? How much promotion can you afford?
1) personal selling
2) direct sales promotion
3) public relations
4) advertising – mass media
e. Develop a mission statement and predict competitor reactions, if any.

       4. Projected budget – “How much will it cost to get there?” (5 points)
a. What will be strategies cost?
b. Pro forma income statement which highlights cost of the strategies on an incremental or start-up basis.
c. Calculate the financial return of the marketing plan

5. Evaluation – “Did we get there?” (5 points)
a. Specific measurement tools to measure the accomplishments of the goals

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