CAM CERTIFICATE: LEADING THE WAY IN AGRI-MARKETING
by the AgriMarketing Editors
In the fall of 2005, the Canadian Agri -Marketing Association (CAMA) broke new ground in the agribusiness industry by launching its Certificate in Agri Marketing (CAM) program. This three-course education program is designed to teach essential marketing skills to agribusiness marketing professionals.
Since its inception in 2005, the CAM has increased overall CAMA membership by 80 members, graduated 15 CAM recipients, and enhanced the profile of both CAMA and its members across the country. Today, there are over 60 individuals in the certificate stream.
"There is no doubt that the Certificate in Agri Marketing has been a highlight of CAMA for the past two years" says Lynn Hewitt, Executive Director of CAMA Ontario, Canada's largest chapter. "Not only has it increased membership through outside enrollment, but it has added a tremendous amount of value to our current members."
"This is the type of program members expect of an industry association like CAMA", says Lee Whittington, President of the Saskatchewan chapter. "We feel that offering a formalized educational program to our members is critical to the development of our chapter and the individuals within it."
CAMA Saskatchewan is set to host the 2007 Best of CAMA awards on November 14 in Regina. Whittington adds, "Our chapter made a decision that the first course in the CAM would be a focal point of this year's event. We want to expose all CAMA members to this program and give non-CAMA members who are participating in Best of CAMA a chance to experience what our organization truly has to offer."
The CAM is targeted towards individuals who are involved in marketing agricultural products or services. "Marketing decisions aren't just made at the agency level," says Dr. Tom Funk, Director of CAM and Professor Emeritus at the University of Guelph. "We feel it's important that people in manufacturing, retailing, distribution, and financial services all have an opportunity to learn more about agricultural marketing, earn career enhancing credentials, and are exposed to CAMA in the process."
To further Funk's point, in 2007 two organizations — a regional farm retail conglomerate and a national feed company, agreed to offer their corporate employees, dealership branch managers and sales personnel CAM as part of a major training initiative.
CAM involves approximately 120 hours of work and the completion of three courses: "Marketing to Farm Businesses," "Strategic Agri Marketing," a more advanced course focused on building comprehensive marketing strategies, and "Agri-Marketing Application."
Marketing to Farm Businesses (MFB) is an introductory marketing course which focuses on key concepts related to marketing products and services to farm customers, or businesses that sell to farmers. Participants work together as they apply newly learned marketing skills to highly relevant agricultural case study situations. This course runs every year in Western Canada in November and again in Guelph, Ontario in January.
Strategic Agri-Marketing (SAM) is an advanced marketing course that focuses on the development of a marketing strategy. Throughout this M.B.A. level course, participants work together on case studies as they apply concepts and theories related to targeting, product, price, distribution and promotion decisions. SAM runs every October at Purdue University (Indiana) and in Guelph Ontario in February.
The third and final course in the CAM program is Agri Marketing Application (AMA), an eLearning course that requires all participants to build a marketing plan under the guidance and coaching of their instructors. AMA was developed specifically for the CAM. The course uses Marketing Plan Plus software as a template for both the qualitative and quantitative elements of their plans. AMA runs every May and September over a six week period.
Participants in CAM can move through the program at their own pace. Some complete the program in a year while others spread it out over two or three years. The educational background of each candidate is assessed and, in some cases certain individuals are granted prior learning credit for certain courses.
"CAM has been a great benefit for CAMA," says Denise Hockaday of Monsanto Canada, and current President of CAMA Ontario. "We anticipate the continued success of this program for many years as we grow our membership and provide value to our members."
More information on CAM is available at www.agribusiness.ca.