Despite positive trends in the last decade, and its great agriculture resources, agro-processing firms do not meet domestic market needs for food. As a result Albania is a net importer of food. According to Ministry of Agriculture official statistics, Coverage of exports to imports is rather low; Albanian imports of agricultural products are 5 times higher than the exports. Data shows that agro-processing firms do not use Marketing effectively - if at all - to support their products and improve their market share. One of the biggest growth challenges for agribusinesses is improper use of Marketing as a primary tool in product placement. Small firms do not use marketing at all while larger agribusinesses invest into expensive but often ineffective campaigns.

Albanian imports of agricultural products are 5 times higher than the exports. One of the biggest reason is improper use of marketing

On the demand side, AP’s conceive marketing as advertisement not as a tool to define or promote a product. SME AP’s do not yet see the value of investing in marketing. Insufficient lack of enforcement on food standards does not provide incentive to them to invest on quality long-lasting products with standards. Unregistered3 producers can produce out of fiscal and safety control and therefore sell at lower prices than registered and licensed producers, thus distorting the market. Un-aware of smaller budget marketing tools - BTL or Below the Line for instance - they remain unconvinced of large budget campaigns. 

On the supply side, Marketing service providers only target a small part of the market and have yet to develop the incentive and products to address the needs of a wide range of AP’s. Marketing products, tailored to sub-sectors are largely missing while available products are generic, expensive and geared towards large AP’s only. The situation has resulted in a mismatch between the supply and demand for marketing services. Both local big or small AP’s are under pressure from imported multinational corporations who penetrate their products in the Albanian retail market by means of impressive ATL and BTL marketing budgets thus impacting the market status quo and seriously damaging the local products market share.

Marketing strategy

Marketing is the process of creating customers, and customers are the lifeblood of your business. In this section, the first thing you want to do is define your marketing strategy. There is no single way to approach a marketing strategy; your strategy should be part of an on-going business-evaluation process and unique to your company. However, there are common steps you can follow which will help you think through the direction and tactics you would like to use to drive sales and sustain customer loyalty.

An overall marketing strategy should include four different strategies:

  • A market penetration strategy.Define product sales strategy.
  • A growth strategy. This strategy for building your business might include: an internal strategy such as how to increase your human resources, an acquisition strategy such as buying another business, a franchise strategy for branching out, a horizontal strategy where you would provide the same type of products to different users, or a vertical strategy where you would continue providing the same products but would offer them at different levels of the distribution chain.
  • Channels of distribution strategy. Choices for distribution channels could include original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), an internal sales force, distributors, or retailers.
  • Communication strategy. How are you going to reach your customers? Usually a combination of the following tactics works the best: promotions, advertising, public relations, personal selling, and printed materials such as brochures, catalogs, flyers, etc.

After you have developed a comprehensive marketing strategy, you can then define your sales strategy. This covers how you plan to actually sell your product.

  • A sales force strategy. If you are going to have a sales force, do you plan to use internal or independent representatives? How many salespeople will you recruit for your sales force? What type of recruitment strategies will you use? How will you train your sales force? What about compensation for your sales force?
  • Your sales activities. When you are defining your sales strategy, it is important that you break it down into activities. For instance, you need to identify your prospects. Once you have made a list of your prospects, you need to prioritize the contacts, selecting the leads with the highest potential to buy first. Next, identify the number of sales calls you will make over a certain period of time. From there, you need to determine the average number of sales calls you will need to make per sale, the average amount per sale, and the average amount per vendor.