Seshadri Ramkumar, Professor, Texas Tech University, USA
A few marketing tips came out clear in a presentation today in the Agriculture Committee meeting at Lubbock Chamber of Commerce. Florentino Lopez, executive director of Sorghum Checkoff, marketing and promotion arm of the United States’ sorghum producers provided valuable information on how to tap new opportunities and markets. Looking for new markets and opportunities will enhance value and sales volume. As is the case with the United States’ sorghum, which has become an important raw material for Baijiu, a Chinese drink, sustained marketing efforts can lead to new opportunities for cotton and textile products.
United States’ sorghum industry marketed superior attributes like flavor, high protein content and antioxidant characteristics to tap new markets. While volume based market will be priority, value-addition to find new applications will also help. This approach has helped with the development of new market opportunities for cotton such as Towelie TM oil absorbent wipes.
“It is all about attributes and consistent production capability,” stated Lopez. Additionally, creating touch points to tell good story about the product such as environmentally friendliness can enhance value. To a question from this scribe on how to overcome marketing barriers, John Duff, strategic business director of Lubbock-based National Sorghum Producers stated, “marketing based on performance attributes and not relying on one market helps.” Diversifying applications is valuable as is the case with sorghum, which finds applications in sectors such as livestock feed, ethanol and other industrial applications such as wallboards and insulation.
Effective utilization of technology to tell positive stories on products will be vital. Social media can help to motivate consumers, which agricultural and textile sectors are effectively utilizing to promote products such as the cotton industry. “Reach out to influencers,” said Lopez.