Picture of barn and peach tree

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 (2015), 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
  • 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
  • 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

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).

The management process through which goods and services move from concept to the customer. It includes the coordination of four elements called the 4 P's of marketing:

(1) identification, selection and development of a product,

(2) determination of its price,

(3) selection of a distribution channel to reach the customer's place, and

(4) development and implementation of a promotional strategy.


What makes direct marketing unique?

  • 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."

    Direct marketing involves selling products directly to the consumer in order to allow the producer the possibility of receiving a higher price. This usually involves three critical steps:

    •making a direct connection to consumers;

    •determining the consumer wants or needs; and

    •offering products that meet those needs.

    Direct marketing may take many forms and usually includes a combination of techniques, such as selling to farmers markets, door-to-door sales, Internet marketing, direct sale to restaurants or institutions, and so on.

Ohioans benefit from going direct

According to the USDA National Agirultureal Statistics Service and the 2015 Direct Farm Sales of Food Results from the 2015 Local Food Marketing Practices Survey

7,747 Ohio farms were involved in selling food directly to consumers

Representing more than $184 million of sales

And according to Trends in U.S. Local and Regional Food Systems: A Report to Congress

The census data also show that farmers who market food for human consumption directly to consumers have a greater chance of reporting positive sales in 2007 and 2012 than those who market through traditional channels.

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.