This publication is designed to educate small to medium size primary and secondary forest products industry personnel about why and how to market wood products. Hobbyists and producers of wooden arts and crafts will also benefit by learning the necessary marketing skills to increase revenue and make their part-time business or hobby less expensive.
The Louisiana forest products industry has a reputation as a leader in the quantity and quality of primary forest products (lumber, plywood, etc.) and secondary forest products (furniture, cabinets, millwork, etc). As the population of the state, country and world continue to grow, the demand for wood products will increase. In Louisiana, the competition for wood products customers increases each year as large and small primary mills open, dry kiln capacity increases and numerous secondary companies open or expand. Therefore, proper marketing skills are essential for the industry to grow and prosper.
We welcome your comments on this publication and look forward to hearing from you. Your first source of information on forest products marketing or forestry in general is your Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service county agent. Please stop by your parish office to learn more about the programs available to you.
What is marketing?
Marketing is defined differently by different people. Some business managers think marketing means selling, advertising, packaging or distribution. All of these ideas are important to marketing, but they don’t define marketing properly. Marketing can be thought of as a total system of business activities designed to determine customers’ needs and desires, then to plan and develop products and services to meet those needs and desires, and then to determine the best way to price, promote and distribute the products and services.
People often confuse marketing with other terms. For example, markets and marketing are not the same. Markets are the customers. Also, many people think marketing and selling are the same. A short explanation is that selling focuses on the product. A company sells what it can make. A company that markets what it can sell, however, focuses on the customer rather than the products. This difference is critical to a successful marketing plan.
Two important concepts about marketing are related to selling. First, the entire system of business activities should be customer-oriented. Consumers’ wants must be recognized and satisfied. Second, marketing should start with an idea about a want-satisfying product and should not end until the customers’ wants are completely satisfied, which may be some time after the exchange is made. The emphasis here is on the customer rather than the selling of the product.
Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and building materials, wood decay and degradation, and wood science. Shupe worked as a professor and lab director at LSU for over 20 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, and Board Member for Gulf South Men and a Team Leader for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church.