Friday, September 14, 2012

Keeping Detailed Records Can Improve Marketing Decisions

The other week I attended a field day at a PA dairy farm that has a creamery enterprise processing their own cheese.  Having attended numerous field days, I expected the day to be spent covering the production aspects of the business.  A fair part of the days was, in fact, spent on dairy and cheese production.  However, what impressed me was the time and detail spent on record-keeping and marketing for the cheese enterprise. The manager shared several examples of the charts created from data they track - everything from milk usage to customer (outlet) trends to sales by type of cheese - all over a multiple year span.

I've created an example, below, (with non-existent data) to illustrate how detailed record-keeping can assist in making marketing decisions.

Example chart of cheese sales ($) by type

The chart easily illustrates for each cheese type how sales have changed over the five-year period in question.  Anyone looking at this can quickly see that sales of cheeses A, D, and G, after reaching a peak in 2010, dropped in 2011.  This should tell the business owner that those are cheeses that should be closely watched during the coming year to see if sales continue to drop.  The owner might additionally want to do some investigative work to see if he/she can identify a specific reason behind the drop in sales.  Alternatively, the significant sales increases for cheeses B and E may lead the owner to increase marketing for those types, or to leverage their popularity to assist with sales of the cheeses with decreasing sales.

Whether it's cheese or another product, having sales data organized in a fashion like this can easily assist with identifying trends among your customers and help you make production and sales decisions.

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