Ohio State University:

Free webinars available for growers and producers

Growers and producers — have you ever wondered how to go about marketing your business and products to consumers? Would you like to know the steps to take now to help position your food business for success in the upcoming year? 

Answers to these questions and more are available to growers, producers and anyone in the agriculture and food industry through two new free webinars offered by food and agriculture marketing experts from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. 

The webinars are designed to teach participants how to effectively use direct marketing as a way to improve their businesses’ financial bottom lines and to potentially increase their customer bases, said Charissa McGlothin, program assistant at the Ohio State University South Centers in Piketon, which is part of the college. 

The MarketMaker webinar is from noon to 1 p.m. Dec. 5 and can be viewed at carmenconnect.osu.edu/marketmaker2014/, said McGlothin, who is also the Ohio MarketMaker coordinator and will be the lead presenter for the webinar. 

The New Year’s Resolution for Direct Marketing webinar is from noon to 1 p.m. Dec. 19 and can be viewed at carmenconnect.osu.edu/r59accaqtk2/. The webinar will be led by Christie Welch, director of the South Centers' Ohio Cooperative Development Center and farmers market program, and will focus on tips farmers and producers can take to set a good marketing business foundation for the new year, McGlothin said. 

The MarketMaker webinar will provide an overview of what the free service can offer farmers and producers, she said. 

MarketMaker, ohiomarketmaker.com, is one of the largest databases of searchable food industry-related information in the country, currently linking producers and consumers in 19 states plus the District of Columbia. 

Ohio State provides leadership for the Ohio MarketMaker program, which allows Ohio food producers, including farmers, fish farmers, commercial fishing businesses, agritourism sites, farmers markets, community supported agriculture groups, food banks and others, to find and connect with local wholesale buyers and consumers, McGlothin said. 

The site, which is free and accessible to all Ohioans, allows users to make connections in the food industry using a searchable database of agriculture- and food-related businesses, she said. 

“The site offers food businesses a customized business profile, and includes a buy/sell forum where users can list items for sale and find items for sale, as well as a database of consumer demographics, business listings and food consumption data to help businesses create marketing plans,” McGlothin said. 

The MarketMaker and New Year’s Resolution for Direct Marketing webinars are part of a larger series of free webinars that were offered by CFAES’s Direct Marketing team throughout the year. The seminars, which hit on a broad array of topics and interests, are still available for viewing at go.osu.edu/directmarketingwebinars

The archived webinar topics include:
  • Top 10 Direct Marketing Trends, by Mike Hogan, an OSU Extension educator and Sustainable Agriculture coordinator. 
  • MarketReady, Selling to Schools, also by Hogan. 
  • Maps & Apps, Mobile Media Marketing, by Rob Leeds, an OSU Extension educator. 
  • Aquaponics Production and Marketing, by Brad Bergefurd, an OSU Extension horticulturist. 
  • Farmers Markets, by Welch. 
  • Food Hubs by Tom Snyder, manager of OSU South Center’s Ohio Cooperative Development Center. 
  • Marketing Hops to Ohio Microbreweries, by Bergefurd. 
  • Marketing Meat, by Mark Mechling, an OSU Extension educator. 
  • Value-added Food Production and Marketing, by Emily Adams, an OSU Extension educator. 

In 2015 the Direct Marketing team will offer a new series of monthly webinars. The new topics and dates will be announced soon and will be posted at go.osu.edu/directmarketingwebinars

More information on direct marketing can also be found at directmarketing.osu.edu.

Source: extension.osu.edu

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