Marketing Channel Assessment Tool (MCAT) Benchmark Performance Metrics
Schmit, Todd M.; LeRoux, Matthew
Since 2008, 31 farms small- and medium-sized fruit and vegetable producers have participated in Marketing Channel Assessment Tool (MCAT) evaluations on their farms, comprising 133 unique farmchannel observations (as of this writing, additional MCAT data collected from fall 2014 will be included in an update to this publication). The evaluations are conducted to assess and rank channel performance for consideration of improving the farm’s marketing strategy. Farms provide comprehensive labor marketing hours for different phases of marketing their products (i.e., labor hours for harvest, process and packing, transportation and distribution, and sales and bookkeeping), mileage costs, and revenues by channel for a typical peak season week. A program developed in excel, then computes rankings of each channel based on the cost and revenue data provided for five important metrics: total sales volume, profit margin, labor requirements, business risk, and lifestyle preferences. Rankings for the ladder two metrics are provided by the farm participants for the channels they participate in. A final ranking for each channel is based on the combined rankings of the five individual metrics. MCAT is customizable in that the final performance of a channel is determined by a weighted average ranking of each metric’s rank for that channel, with the weights set by the participant. Participants are asked to assign a weight to each of the metrics from zero to one, such that the sum of the weights across all five metrics equaled one. If all metrics receive an equal weight, they are each assigned a value of 0.2. Simply put, channels ranked higher are preferred to lower ranking channels, and channels ranked high and near to each other provide evidence for preferred multi-channel marketing strategies. In addition, individual post-assessment simulations can be conducted from the existing performance data to help assess potential changes to a farm’s marketing strategy and its expected impacts on farm performance. Finally, follow up MCAT evaluations following changes to a farm’s marketing strategy are available and can be used to track changes in farm marketing performance over time.