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Compost Marketing and Sales “Pioneering Sustainability through Organics Conversion” Bill Camarillo – President.

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Presentation on theme: "Compost Marketing and Sales “Pioneering Sustainability through Organics Conversion” Bill Camarillo – President."— Presentation transcript:

1 Compost Marketing and Sales “Pioneering Sustainability through Organics Conversion” Bill Camarillo – President

2 4,500,000 TONS CONVERTED SINCE 1993

3 Marketing vs. Sales Role of marketing – create prospects for sales and keep the market informed about the compost product Role of sales – turn prospects into cash as efficiently as possible; stay in touch with existing and potential customers Recognize geographic constraints – Cost of shipping compost limits markets to a 75-100 mile radius from composting facility Recognize that many buyers do not understand what compost is and how it should be used

4 Key Elements in a Market Development Plan

5 Compost Markets Traditional Markets – Homeowners/gardeners – Landscapers – Containerized horticulture – Turf / Topsoil Manufacturing Emerging Markets – Erosion & Sediment Control – Agriculture (re-emerging market) – Wetlands Creation – Bioremediation of contaminated soils

6 Compost Markets Value vs. Volume Markets Retail vs. Wholesale Markets Value Markets – Higher value (golf courses, nurseries, sports turf) – Quality and consistency more important than price Volume Markets – Price is key defining criteria – Agriculture, erosion control, remediation, wetlands Retail – characteristics of both value and volume Wholesale – can be extremely price-sensitive

7 Markets We Serve

8 Marketing Objectives Objectives: – Selling existing products to existing customers – Developing new products for existing customers – Extending existing products to new customers – Developing new products for new customers Quantitative, in terms of values, volumes, market shares, profitability Consider 3-year planning horizon

9 Distribution & Marketing Options Distribution Options: – Wholesale – Retail – Distributors – In-house use Marketing Options: – In-house staff – Contracting with private-sector broker – Self-use – Give-away

10 Distribution Options: Wholesale Examples: landscape, agriculture Users are familiar with soil characteristics and benefits of adding organic materials Focus on specific qualities of your product and their specific applications – be knowledgeable Issues: product availability and delivery; storage and handling; seasonality of market, price, branding Block sale concept Certifications, education

11 Distribution Options: Retail Requires product branding (name, logo) and promotional materials Message should focus on specific qualities of your product in residential and commercial horticulture/landscaping Watch for stigmas (e.g., feedstock, contamination ) Very high repeat sales quotient with good and consistent product quality Form – bulk vs. bagged, blends

12 Distribution Options: Wholesale and Retail Avoid perception that compost is a valueless product !! (Asset vs. liability) Develop education and outreach materials Set up visible demonstration plots Ensure high product quality Word-of-mouth will provide most effective advertising Marketing vs. sales activities

13 Distribution Options: Distributors Reselling through retail or wholesales distributors Product branding is important – They promote your brand for their own profit incentive Develop chain focused on specific markets to access, geographical region, market segment Requires moderate level of marketing resources – Need to provide tools and training for best results

14 Distribution Options: In-house Use In-house use – Demonstrates a confidence in product quality – Residential and commercial markets can see the results of compost use Product branding not as important Can save money on fertilizers and fungicides (pesticides) Can potentially absorb a lot of product Inter-department coordination and education vital Requires low level of marketing resources

15 Branding Symbolic embodiment of all information connected to a provider Serves to create expectations and associations Brand image – create impression that product is unique or special Brand experience – if positive, customers will often choose branded over generic items Trademark all brand names of products Color scheme

16 Logos Graphic element, symbol or icon of a brand Effect should be instant recognition Components – be distinctive! – Icon – the image – Logotype – letter font – Slogan – convey the message BMW – The Ultimate Driving Machine

17 The Agromin Brand

18 Promotion / Advertising Critical in establishing brand recognition – Must control costs, have budget Convey your message! Methods – Newspaper - Billboards – TV - Radio – Infomercials- Trailers – Display signage at projects

19 Promotional Advertising Generate leads….

20 Marketing – Demo Projects

21 Be Knowledgeable About the Product

22 Compost Use Guidelines Soil incorporation as amendment – 1” to 2” layer, incorporated 5-8” – 135 to 270 cubic yards per acre Mulching for weed control – 2”-3” layer evenly spread on surface Topdressing for turf improvement – 1/8” – 1/2” layer spread after aerating Planting mixes for containerized horticulture – 15-33% inclusion in media Topsoil blending – 25-50% of mix – compost and fill dirt Land reclamation – 200-500 cubic yards/acre

23 Benefits of Compost Use Improved structure Moisture management Modifies and stabilizes pH Increases CEC Provides nutrients Provides soil biota Suppresses plant diseases Binds/degrades contaminants Binds nutrients Sequester Air-Borne Carbon Physical: Chemical: Biological: Other:

24 Effects of OM Additions Add organic matter Increase biological activity (& diversity?) Decomposition Nutrients released Aggregation increased Pore structure improved Humus formed May reduce soil-borne disease Improved tilth HEALTHY PLANTS

25 Marketing Strategies In-house program requires: – Market research – Coordination of product utilization research – Highly visible demonstration sites – Professional education and outreach materials – Staffing Broker/blender – Reduces risk of market failure – Revenue and control are reduced

26 Factors Affecting Distribution and Marketing Strategies Level of available resources to implement strategy Quantity and quality of compost produced Types and sizes of markets in your marketing region Risk and revenue expectations Program goals Most use more than one distribution channel and one marketing strategy ORGANIZED & EDUCATED EFFORT

27 Preparing a Marketing Plan Identify Target Markets and Distribution Channels Develop a Product Specification – USCC STA Compost Technical Data Sheet Develop a Program Budget Develop a Pricing Structure Develop Product Utilization Guidelines Develop a Product Identity Plan Research & Demonstration Projects Plan Public Relations & Education Strategy

28 Pricing Structure Survey the competition within 100 miles – Both municipal and private If retailing, set price just below others Use lower unit price for large volume purchasers (> 50 CY) Decide who will pay shipping costs Prices vary: (wholesale vs. retail?) – $5-$15/CY for municipal facilities – $14-$25/CY for private composters Charge a fair price for the product!

29 Public Relations & Education Product Literature Demonstration Sites Public Presentations Articles in Local Press Print and Other Media Advertising Displays/Exhibits Facility Tours

30 Selling Your Compost

31 Compost Sales Bulk vs. bagged sales – Most composters sell in bulk (per cubic yard, or per “scoop”) – Bagged product requires outlets through “big box” stores or “mom and pop” garden centers Extremely difficult to ensure adequate profit margins Much more profitable selling to garden centers, but lower volume potential – Sell to public at composting facility or sell through broker Pricing – Determined by competition in your 75-100 mile radius – In CA, statewide average is $20/CY – Larger orders will expect discount Tractor-trailer load volumes, multiple truckloads – Pricing may also be influenced by feedstocks used Manure & food waste composts vs. biosolids & mortality composts

32 Sales Staff Necessary skills or knowledge base The composting process Compost application & benefits Product quality issues Government regulation Health, safety, & environmental issues Competition Prior research The green industry User needs Basic sales and marketing


34 Attributes of a Compost Supplier Produce compost possessing attributes / characteristics that meet end user or application requirements Supplies/produces a consistent product Has implemented an on-going quality assurance or testing program Can supply current compost characterization data (quantifying and qualifying their product’s attributes) Field Guide to Compost Use, US Composting Council, 1996

35 Attributes of a Compost Supplier Provides good overall customer service, employs a “service minded” staff Can assure prompt and reliable delivery (size of truck and mode of unloading are also important) Possesses adequate storage to ensure availability Can provide technical assistance regarding end use Field Guide to Compost Use, US Composting Council, 1996

36 Competition Peat? Topsoil? Fertilizer ? Other composts?

37 Developing A Sales Strategy Set up pricing structure Set up Information Management System – Record sales, price paid, buyer info Recruit sales staff or hire broker Develop promotional materials Get out and talk to buyers Market research is key!

38 Understanding The Customer How does compost benefit the customer? Benefits identified by purchasers of compost – Helps reduce soil compaction – Helps increase water retention – Helps hold on to nutrients – Helps reduce chemicals needed – Reduces erosion – Increases infiltration – Reduces some plant diseases – Increases porosity Talk the customer’s language – “what’s in it for me?” Different benefits are important to different end users

39 Understanding The Customer Anticipate the customer’s concerns: – What is it made of? – How do I know how good it is? – Are you sure it is safe…how do I know? – If it is so good, why is it such a bargain? – Will you guarantee it if it kills my plants? – What if my kids or dog get sick? Consumer education – shortens the list of questions! Handling Objections

40 Sales Information Management Feedback – essential to strong sales Develop sales reports – monitor goals – By Product – for product managers – By Customers – for salespeople – By Geographical Area – for advertising – By Market – for marketing staff Allows understanding of total market size, market share and “projected vs. actual” sales data

41 Hiring A Broker Negotiation Issues – Amount of material to be marketed – Length of contract – Sole-source contract – Pick-up/delivery schedule – Revenue sharing & reimbursable costs – Storage costs and locations – Bonding/guarantee requirements – Educational/promotional responsibilities Use a formal contract agreement

42 Promotional Materials Product Information Brochures Product Utilization Guidelines Compost Technical Data Sheet Consider “logo’ed” giveaway items – Hats, tee-shirts, pens, coffee mugs Your objective is to keep your products’ name(s) in front of possible buyers as much as possible

43 Sales- Why Should They Buy Your Compost? Quality-Quality-Quality – Only sell mature, stable product Effectiveness … Insurance Price (Value) – Volume markets – lower price Convenience – Make it easy for customers to pick up Delivery – Deliver the compost in a timely manner – Cost, bulk density issues

44 Compost Market Development/Sales Investment (2-3 years) – Cost – Time – Staff Game plan

45 Any Questions? Your marketing / sales challenges ?

46 Review Role of marketing – create prospects for sales – keep the market informed Role of sales – turn prospects – stay in touch customers

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