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Abstract

Social networking services are becoming an increasingly popular medium for marketing and advertising. The growth in usage of these sites, together with an increasingly active local food system in Northern Colorado, motivated this study examines the effectiveness of social marketing for consumer-oriented agribusinesses. Initial research on social marketing suggests it is an innovation being informally used by consumers to quickly spread word of mouth on events and products. For consumer-oriented businesses, this suggests a potential opportunity to effectively grow markets or improve loyalty among customers. The case studies presented are particularly rich examples since direct marketing in agriculture benefits from authentic, word-of-mouth promotion, in contrast to traditional advertising. These case studies, which include analysis of websites and intercept surveys, show that social networking may be beneficial, but might be most effective in a multi-modal marketing strategy for small agribusiness producers and direct marketers.

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