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Produce Business

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American Food & Ag Exporter

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Short Course On Produce Marketing Offered At UC Davis

Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, November 24, 2008

Great universities are always looking to innovate, and UC Davis is no different. At a moment of great economic uncertainty, when many in the industry are wondering if there will be a market for their products, Dr. Roberta Cook, Cooperative Extension Marketing Economist at UC Davis, has coordinated the development of a Short Course focused on fresh produce marketing:

Fresh Produce Marketing Strategies
Short Course Premieres at UC Davis

The UC Davis Postharvest Technology Research & Information Center today announced a new addition to its portfolio of produce industry educational course offerings: Fresh Produce Marketing Strategies. The three-day short course scheduled for March 24-26, 2009 takes place on the UC Davis Campus in the newly dedicated Robert Mondavi Institute Sensory Theater and is now open for registration, including online registration right here.

The program developed by Dr. Roberta Cook and other leading produce marketing professionals is designed specifically to meet the needs of fresh produce industry managers and executives who are interested in improving their ability to develop and execute innovative fresh produce marketing strategies. “This short course is simply a must-attend event for any produce executive grappling with buyer and supplier consolidation, channel blurring, and rapidly evolving consumer preferences and profiles” said Roberta Cook, the short course faculty director. “Enhancing your ability to assess emerging marketplace complexities and adapt your firm’s marketing tactics and strategies to current market realities is what this short course will deliver to participants.”

The topics to be covered in the short course are all designed to raise one’s “Marketing IQ” as you see below:

Fresh Produce Value Chain Management

• Industry trends

• Supply, demand and elasticities

• Market structure

• Bargaining power

• Relative competitiveness

• Strategic implications

Strategic Marketing

• 5 P’s — product, price, place, promotion and positioning

• Branding

• Generic promotion

• Trade research

• Public and media relations

• Marketing plans

Consumer Research

• The challenge of understanding consumer attitudes and behavior

• Pros and cons of alternative research methods

• National Hartman study on consumer attitudes about sustainability Category Development

• Retail scanner data analysis

• Merging scanner data with consumer data

• Benchmarking as a means to impact retail product merchandising

• Identifying best practices

• Developing effective retail partnerships

Crafting Effective Strategies

• Aligning production, sales and marketing

• Differentiation and positioning to improve relative competitiveness

The faculty includes many talented people:

Roberta Cook, Ph.D., Dept. of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Davis, Course Director
Leslie Butler, Ph.D., Dept. of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Davis
Jan DeLyser, Vice President Marketing, California Avocado Commission
Don Goodwin, President, Golden Sun Marketing
Shermain Hardesty, Ph.D., Dept. of Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis
Steve Lutz, Executive Vice President, Perishables Group
Jim Prevor, Founder and Editor, PerishablePundit.com
Richard Sexton, Ph.D., Dept. of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Davis
Kerry Tucker, Nuffer, Smith, Tucker, Inc.
Alison Worthington, Managing Director, The Hartman Group

Yes, you caught the Pundit’s name on the list. We were honored to be asked to contribute and are looking forward to visiting UC Davis.

We have been a faculty member since its founding at the United Fresh Produce Executive Development Program at Cornell University, developed by the über Professor, Dr. Ed McLaughlin, Robert G. Tobin Professor of Marketing, Director, Undergraduate Business Program.

The Cornell Program is, as they say: “…designed for mid- to senior-level produce executives, including Presidents, CEOs, Sr. Vice Presidents, Vice Presidents, Directors and others with management experience. More important than job title, however, are job responsibilities. If you are in a leadership position, under consideration for a leadership position, or involved in your company’s strategic planning and execution, this course is for you.”

The strategic and senior nature of the program is buttressed by its five-night commitment and location on an Ivy League campus distant from the large production centers of the industry. The time investment and location are perfect for the senior executive to commit and focus on the strategic positioning of his or her organization. It is a unique program, and there is nothing else remotely like it in the industry.

We will be writing more about this United Fresh/Cornell University program in the coming days, but in the meantime we certainly recommend that senior executives consider attendance. You can find a brochure here and registration information here.

Yet this new UC Davis program, focused solely on marketing, geared toward a more junior executive, requiring only two nights and with a location where many industry members can drive to get there and even day-trip the course seems to fill a needed gap.

We would love to see the UC Davis Marketing Short Course become a right of passage for young marketing executives in the industry much as the United Fresh/Cornell program has been moving toward a place where all serious aspirants for senior positions dealing with strategic business thinking in the produce trade know they need to complete the Cornell program.

Many thanks to Dr. Roberta Cook and the team at UC Davis for putting it all together. You can download a brochure here, find out more about the course here and register right here.

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