Programs

Picture of barn and peach tree
Farm in Athens County, Ohio

Unique characteristics make Ohio an attractive place to "Go Direct"

  • Ohio is rich in diversity with a lakefront region to the north; rural Appalachian and Amish communities; and dynamic metropolitan areas throughout the state.

  • Ohio has a unique proximity of metropolitan and micropolitan areas, which presents unique opportunities for rural-urban interaction.

According to the Census of Agriculture (2007), Ohio ranks in the top ten states for direct-to-consumer food marketing sales.

Ohio continues to show growth in direct marketing, as demonstrated through a variety of indicators, including an increasing number of:

  • Farm and farmers' markets (Ohio Farmers' Market Managers Network)
  • Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
  • Produce auctions, food cooperatives, food hubs
  • Restaurants, grocery stores, and institutions sourcing and serving local products
  • Wineries, breweries and other food entrepreneurs selling a variety of value-added products to consumers, chefs, specialty grocery stores and institutional buyers
  • Fairs, festivals and special events
  • Farm-based garden centers
  • Land owners providing tourism attractions/destinations; unique dining, lodging, meeting and shopping experiences; outdoor recreation and other leisure activities

Marketing Defined

Marketing has been defined in a number of ways since the early 1900's when the focus was on economic distribution and exchange. throughout the years, marketing science has changed to define marketing as decision-making activity, market orientation, relationship marketing, and value chain management, to the context of today’s emerging marketing dynamics (Vargo & Lusch, 2004).

According to the American Marketing Association, Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large (2013.

What makes direct marketing unique?

  • Direct marketing is often referred to as interactive marketing because it goes beyond mass marketing's broad audience appeal and involves two-day communication between sellers and buyers (Spiller & Baier, 2005). Producers work directly with consumers and wholesale buyers.

  • "Marketing is not only much broader than selling, it is the whole enterprise seen from the customer's point of view." Peter Drucker

  • Agriculture and natural resources marketing - According to the North American Farmers' Direct Marketing Association, direct marketing is "selling direct to consumers - individuals, families, restaurants, tour groups, big companies and others."

Ohioans benefit from going direct

  • Good for producers and other agripreneurs - Producers view direct marketing as an alternative market outlet to increase their income while consumers see it as a means of gaining access to fresher, higher quality goods at lower costs (Nayga, et al., 1994).
  • Good for consumers - Consumers also derive cultural and social benefits from direct contacts with farmers, visits to farms and nature (Linstrom, 1978).
  • Good for communities - Communities develop improved social and economic conditions by strengthening local neighborhoods and creating opportunities at the rural/urban interface (Colbert, et al., 2013).

Marketing resources are provided throughout this website for:

  • Business Owners & Managers
  • Community Leaders
  • Educators and Researchers

General Direct Marketing Resources:

In 2009, the Ohio Direct Marketing Team conducted three research projects as part of the project "Exploring and improving marketing practices and regional market access for Ohio's food producing farmers." This project was made possible through funding from the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program, Transportation and Marketing Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Click on the name of each report to read the full document.  This research will occur every five years.