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Marketing local products:
Short and long distribution channels

[ Summary ]

Section II
Collectively marketing local
products via long distribution channels


Chapter 3



3.2 A contractually agreed partnership


From an ad hoc promotion campaign to the creation of a fully-fledged specialist organisation, any collective business development initiative confronts participants with a number of problems:

  • they have to delegate to others tasks that they were accustomed to managing themselves;

  • they are putting their image at stake, since their image will now be associated to a greater or lesser degree with that of their partners;

  • they will be sharing resources, tasks, etc.

The people responsible for managing the project must also be able to rely on a number of certainties to make them credible in the eyes of their new business associates. Here we refer to the classical implications of representation (in other words, the ability to make commitments and ensure that they are complied with).

It is necessary to clearly establish from the outset a contractual platform that will govern relations between the different people involved, and that will define their several responsibilities as well as transparent terms of participation.

Project leaders should take into account the following parameters:

  • the fundamental quality criteria of the products and the origin of the raw materials used;
  • prices and pricing policy;
  • the limits of financial participation;
  • distributing tasks and responsibilities between the collective organisation and the partners.

Quality charters, specifications, contracts and so forth, however perfect, are of course no substitute for personal integrity, nor for attention to human relations in order to make an organisation “work”, all of which are decisive factors. As a consequence, investing time and resources in defining and applying highly structured internal documents may well have the opposite effect to the one intended. A few simple and clearly worded rules that meet everyone’s needs can be an effective instrument [1].

The association “Saveurs des Pyrenées” based its relations with its members on a clear division of labour:

Member Association
Produces Identifies customers
Dispatches Is responsible for promotion
Invoices Sells

The members pay for the association’s services through a sales commission currently set at 7%.

Every year the association, together with each member, determines the parameters of the commercial approach:

  • pricing policy;
  • which market areas come within the association’s remit and which are dealt with directly by the member;
  • the forecast plan mentioning the annual sales targets for the different channels.

The relationship between the association and its members is formalised in a simple and pragmatic agreement.


[1] see technical data sheet n° 3:
"Example of an agreement protocol between
the collective organisation and its members".

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