Plan features education: WBC releases FY2012 Marketing Plan
In early June, the Wyoming Beef Council (WBC) released the Fiscal Year 2012 Marketing Plan that contains four goals to help educate consumers and producers alike, and to promote the beef industry.
The WBC has spent many hours researching the ins and outs of the beef industry, taking that information and using it to help local Wyoming producers.
“We have taken data accumulated nationally from issues discussed in the beef industry, and then we see how it relates to our state and resonates with us. We try to pick out the most compelling and impactful goals that are relevant to our state,” says WBC Executive Director Ann Wittmann.
This data helps the WBC to take in the whole picture and view topics that affect producers not only at the state level, but also the national level.
“While we may not be trendsetters in the industry, it gives us a place to start looking so that we are not oblivious to bigger trends within the market,” notes Wittmann.
The marketing plan is broken down into goals that focus on the WBC’s strengths and weaknesses and opportunities or threats to the industry. In response to those goals the WBC also created core strategies, tactics and goals.
“The marketing plan has specific tactics so that we can identify the issue or the challenge. Then we identify what we are good at and how we can make an impact,” explains Wittmann.
Two of the issues addressed in the latest plan are the facts that consumers are now more disconnected from beef production, and that beef producers should be more educated on how the beef checkoff program works.
Wittmann says consumers in today’s society oftentimes don’t know where their meat actually comes from, and they’re less familiar with the agriculture industry. On the other end of the spectrum, cattlemen are concerned with how their checkoff dollars are spent and what the checkoff programs do for them personally. Wittmann says the solution to both of these problems is education.
“The plan includes things like presence at health fairs and community meetings, working with chefs, grassroots efforts contracted through the CattleWomen, public relations messages through newspapers and our website,” says Wittmann.
Within the marketing plan, Strategy Three speaks to the basic needs of the beef industry: strengthen the image of beef and the beef industry.
“A list of what we are going to do includes continuing with the National Beef Ambassador Program and the Beef Quality Assurance Program, which works with health professionals, dieticians, retailers and food service operators. We are really trying to reach out to everyone we can to address that disconnect,” adds Wittmann.
The WBC spends numerous hours each year reviewing the data and focusing on the goals that they feel would be the most strategically successful.
“We want producers to know that we don’t just get whims on a year-to-year basis. It’s a strategic plan to try and make the biggest impact by the most efficient and economical means possible,” Wittmann says.
The WBC strives to set attainable goals that they can be evaluated through measurable progress.
“We want to do things we can measure. It is important for producers to know and understand that every tactic has a goal. We come back and evaluate all of these programs and decide whether we want to continue with them into the future or change it somehow. These evaluations are a huge part of having cattlemen and women on the Council to help make sound decisions,” says Wittmann.
She says another important part of the marketing plan is making every effort to be open about the beef checkoff, keeping producers informed and on the same playing field as the WBC.
“We want to be more vocal about the processes that we go through so that the people who are out there paying money into the beef checkoff have a clearer and a deeper understanding of those processes and of those messages that their funds are supporting,” she adds.
After a misunderstanding during the 2011 legislative session, the WBC and the Wyoming Stock Growers Association acknowledged their need to educate consumers, producers and the general public about the role of the WBC.
“After the spring legislative session, the misinterpretation of the bill allowed us to realize that there is a disconnect between the producers and how their checkoff dollars are spent. It is important for them to understand the responsibilities that their council members have and how they go through the process of making decisions on behalf of their fellow producers,” explains Wittmann.
Along with announcing the new marketing plan for the new fiscal year, the WBC has also announced a celebration to mark a milestone in their history.
“The Wyoming Beef Council has been in existence since 1971 so this is our 40th year in existence. The national checkoff was implemented in 1986, so we predate even them,” Wittmann notes.
The WBC plans to honor past and present members of the Council at the Wyoming State Fair this summer, and the celebration will take place on Aug. 19 during the Director’s Reception.
“I believe that the success of this organization can truly be attributed to the determination and passion of the producers that have served on the Council, and to those who haven’t served on the Council but are passionate about marketing their product and understand the need to successfully market their end product to consumers. It is their foresight and ingenious thinking that created this program, which we feel has truly impacted this industry,” Wittmann concludes.