Alex Bennett Final Project Proposal

At Cerridwen Farm we are constantly producing raw milk.  Unfortunately this product is not being consumed at the rate that it should be.  We have a built in customer base at GMC in the student body.  We should be running low on product, not dealing with a seemingly constant surplus.  I believe this problem can be addressed through a combination of education and a revamping of the advertising and marketing for the product of raw milk both on campus and in the Poultney community.

The success of this campaign can be measured in to ways, the first being the attendance at the educational workshops that will be a major part of the campaign.  The second is a comparison of raw milk sales prior to, and after the campaign.  Both of these are easily measurable and should provide specific data and feedback on the success of this campaign.  In the long run, I hope that this campaign will also help to generate public interest in the farm and it’s other products, however this is much more of a long-term goal and is farm less quantitatively measurable.

There are two specific groups that I am attempting to engage with this campaign.  The first and highest priority group is the student body of GMC.  They are part of this community and should be the primary consumers of raw milk from the farm.  For whatever reason this is not the case, I hope to generate student interest in the farm, and raw milk in particular.  The second group is the Poultney community.  While many Poultney residents participate in the CSA at Cerridwen those who regularly purchase raw milk are few and far between.  If I can generate interest in raw milk from both of these demographics I believe that sales of the product will benefit greatly.

I will be working with professor Eleanor Tison to organize and run at least on raw milk workshop.  This workshop will consist of general education about raw milk, as well as hands on raw milk processing demonstrations.  Eleanor is heavily involved in the local Poultney food system, and is well versed in raw milk processing.  She is my main partner in this project.  I also plan on enlisting the help of the Slow Food club with these workshops.

My strategy is simple; generate interest in raw milk through 1 or more educational workshops, where participants will be taught about the benefits of raw milk.  They will also be taught how to use raw milk to make butter, yogurt, and cheese.  The interest generated from this will be built on by a full scale advertising campaign for the product on campus and throughout Poultney, which will include the use of print media, social networking, and campus wide e-mails.  I’m not really sure how I could incorporate individuals into my campaign, perhaps having raw milk enthusiasts involved in the workshops and having them talk about why they are interested in the product will help to personalize the campaign.

The first phase of the campaign will be to stage an educational event/workshop.  This will most likely be advertised for via a school wide e-mail and potentially analog routes such as a sidewalk chalk ad outside of Withey.  This hands-on workshop will be used to get people involved and excited about the possibilities of processing raw milk.  The workshop will include butter making, yogurt making, and cheese making, all of which are simple and easy ways to process raw milk in ones’ own dorm room.  For these workshops I will be assisted by Eleanor Tison and possibly the Slow Food club.

After the workshop/s I will begin an advertising campaign for raw milk on campus.  This will include the use of postcards that will be distributed throughout Chartwells.  These postcards will incorporate the new raw milk logo that I am currently working on, and will hopefully help to create a brand image for the product on campus.  The postcards may also be distributed through the student mail system.

Campus wide e-mails will also be utilized to spread the word about raw milk on campus.  Potentially o be used to advertise special deals on the product.  However the main use of these e-mails will be to advertise the workshops, as I have found that campus wide e-mails are the easiest and most effective method of advertising for events on campus.

The final avenue I will be utilizing is social networking.  Cerridwen farm already has an established Facebook page with over 300 friends.  I plan on gaining access to this page in an administrative capacity and will use the page to advertise for future raw milk events as well as sales, or raw milk news.  With an already established customer base already utilizing this medium I believe I will be successful in piggybacking on this customer base and not trying to establish a new social networking presence.

I plan for the outcome of this campaign to be a raised level of interest and consumption of raw milk throughout the GMC and Poultney communities.  I can only fail if I manage to decrease interest in the product, which I don’t see happening.  If there is a marked increase in consumption of the product I will continue to develop the campaign in the future by holing more workshops and continuing to educate our community on the benefits and uses or raw milk.  I like many others who work on the farm have a personal investment in what is going on over there.  I have spent countless hours in those fields and with those animals, and anyway that I could help their business would be very meaningful to me.  I am doing this because it is something I am passionate about, I want the farm to succeed and if I can help that, even slightly I will consider it a moral victory.

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One Response to Alex Bennett Final Project Proposal

  1. This is generally a well-done and effective proposal, Alex. Glad to see it ahead of the curve!

    There are a few areas where it could be improved however.

    First a small, practical thing, please put in section headers. They’ll really help organize and break up your proposal, and help people scan to the content that most interests them.

    In terms of people, I think you have focused too far down and also in a away over simplified your target audience. Certainly students are your primary and most important group, but I think faculty and staff should be a close second. They are not the same as students, but you can reach them by many of the same media (sidewalk chalk, posters, and campus email), and I’m certain that you would find many strongly-interested, steady customers. I think you also need to separate faculty and staff from from the larger Poultney and Rutland communities. Effectively you could treat Poultney and Rutland as the same group, since you would mostly reach them through the same tactics. Although this larger community group is clearly third priority, I think you still need to include it, because you are interested in selling milk at farmers markets.

    On a related note, in terms of strategy I think you need to add newspapers back into your technology tools. At a minimum your workshops should be posted in the calendar section of all local newspapers. Also it seems like a no-brainer to get your event posted on sites like this: http://www.ruralvermont.org/issues-main/farm-fresh-milk/ (I’m sure these must be others.)

    I do think you should also re-incorporate the new logo you are developing into your final proposal. It is an important way that you are giving an identity to and unifying your campaign.

    Jumping back to objectives, you have two great, clear ones. They are focused and make total sense. I do however want you to make specific numeric goals for workshop attendance and milk consumption. What exactly will qualify as success?

    Finally, I think you should consider more explicitly addressing the educational aspect through out your campaign. In other words, I think the basic problem you face is fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the health and safety of your product. You need to come up with smart and engaging ways to address and dispel these fears with every communication and promotion you put out there. An effective tagline would be very useful (and of course would further unify your campaign). I think it is a significant obstacle to success. Considered including links to these sites on your fliers, postcards, and so on: http://www.farmtoconsumer.org/ http://www.realmilk.com/ You could also use QR codes to lead people to these sites.

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