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Applying the 4 P's to a "T"

Whether you're raising beef, selling farm produce at your local farmer's market, running a CSA, or dreaming up new custom-blended teas like Rhonda Smith of The Skirted Soldier, paying attention to the 4 P's of marketing can help your bottom line.

When we can buy a plethora of teas from run-of-the-mill black tea to herbal to fruit to decaf, why take the trouble --and spend a little more--to buy Rhonda's custom teas?

1. Product: Skirted Soldier teas appeal to discerning buyers seeking small-batch and locally-grown products; clever tea name like At Ease and Summer Salute strike a chord with those who've served; for customers not associated with the military the names seem exotic.

2. Promotion: the facebook and webpage draw the viewer in with a clean and very visual style--lots of close-ups of the tea, hands holding cozy mugs, 'friendly' fonts. In addition to using PA's Homegrown by Heroes seal, The Skirted Soldier emphasizes 'veteran-owned and operated'.

3. Price: While prices are higher than supermarket brands, for some customers the payoff may be in knowing that 10% of Skirted Soldier profits go to support female veteran programming. Rhonda's done extensive research to price her product at that fine line between splurge and necessity.

4. Placement: the right product (yummy, custom-blended tea), at the right price (see above), at the right place (online as well as at gift and gourmet shops, coffee and tea shops, and specialty and farmer's markets) at the right time (seasonally themed flavors).

Whatever your farm product or agribusiness, giving some thought to 'the four P's' will enhance your 5th one: profit.

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