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Support systems for new activities in rural areas

Part 2 - Individual services
Joint promotion and marketing

How to use this guide & Table of Contents


Many LEADER groups devote considerable
resources to schemes for the joint
promotion of particular products,
especially in the tourism and agri-food
sectors (1). However, few groups have
advanced to joint marketing.


Common problems and bottlenecks Recommendations and guidelines (*)
  • The first step is often to form a group or association of producers. However, in many cases, the only thing the group has in common is that all the members come from a particular area. Quality criteria are not established in advance.
  • As a result, the quality and capacity of some partners may be very low and actually harm the image of others. However, once an organisation is established to defend the interests of its members, it becomes very difficult to impose quality controls retrospectively.
  • Any groupings of promoters should be based around clear quality differences.
  • Where possible the criteria for taking part should be established in advance.
  • As a first stage, the LEADER group should carry out an external audit of the commercial strengths and weaknesses of its project promoters.
  • This makes it very difficult to establish a distinctive image or brand.
  • The group must be clear about the message, the target segment of the population and the channels of distribution.
  • The message and the target public of the promotion is unclear.
  • The mechanisms and distribution channels for translating promotion into sales have not been thought through.
  • As a result, large amounts of money can be spent on glossy generic publicity, without any clear results.
  • The same is true with other systems such as local shops, local exhibition centres and organisation of and assistance with fairs.
  • The cost of marketing in long distribution channels goes beyond the capacity of most LEADER areas alone. Indeed, there are very few areas capable of bringing together a sufficient number of producers to cover the costs inherent in this type of marketing.
  • Initial expenditure may be a very high percentage of turnover and may receive 100% public funding. However, there should be a clear exit strategy for the public sector.
  • The possibility of joint marketing systems can usually only be explored in cooperation with other areas (2).

(1) Good examples are the Navarre Tourist Consortiums and the Navarre Association of Craft Food Producers.

(2) In this respect, the experience of Saveurs des Pyrénées raises a series of issues that should be explored (*):

  • it is an association of 17 agri-food producers. Its catchment area is the entire French side of the Pyrenees, with a population of 300 000;
  • the association charges a 7% commission on the sales of its members;
  • with a turnover of ECU 1.8 million, it manages to cover 70% of its running costs (including three full-time staff) and estimates that it needs a turnover of ECU 2.5 million to break even.

(*) see the directory "Innovative actions of rural development" and, for Saveurs des Pyrénées, the dossier "The collective organisation of a sector for the local valorisation of agricultural resources - the example of cheese processing", LEADER European Observatory / AEIDL, 1997).

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