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Industry leader mentors Alberta marketers


October 16, 2009
By Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

Topics

eckert_janeOctober 14, 2009,
Edmonton, Alta – In September, an internationally renowned marketing guru
shared her industry insights and expertise with 10 market agripreneurs.



October 14, 2009,
Edmonton, Alta – In September, an internationally renowned marketing guru
shared her industry insights and expertise with 10 market agripreneurs.

Jane Eckert of Eckert
Agri-Marketing
was in Alberta as part of a mentorship training program aimed at
helping local market agripreneurs identify and pursue opportunities to build
business capacity and leadership skills.

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“The operators were very
diverse in their operations yet similar in that they all need to become more
marketing savvy,” said Eckert.

Special promotions,
product sampling, hand addressed postcards and a web presence are all tools
that can build sales.

“A good website and email
newsletter are effective tools for increasing sales,” said Eckert.

“I learned that you can do
almost anything you want as long as you’re open to new ideas,” says Sue King,
who with her husband Larry and family, operates Harmony’s Way Farm near Crooked
Creek. “You can do it anywhere, rural or urban. The key is to deliver a special
experience that entices customers to come to your place.”

What is the value of a
mentorship experience? One participant expects to recoup her costs 140 times
every year for the next three years.

“For my $250 investment,
my ag-tourism business will expand over $100,000 in the next three years,"
said Tam Anderson of Prairie Gardens and Greenhouses in Bon Accord. “A previous
mentorship experience led me to add a corn maze to my operation because August
was my slowest month. Now the maze is an area attraction and my sales quadruple
every weekend it’s open.”

The mentorship program,
implemented in three regions of Alberta, was a joint venture involving the
Peace Region Economic Development Alliance (PREDA), Growing Forward, the
Edmonton Regional Tourism Group (ERTG), the Camrose Regional Exhibition (CRE),
Alberta Agriculture and the Learn Agri-Food and Country Roads Networks.