Who should get the credit?

The recent tendency among SOME senior market officials to create the impression that they are solely responsible for the successes of a market hasn’t abated.

I noticed it a few years ago when one or two of the newer generation market managers began putting out the subtle message that they (I presume they meant the market authority) were responsible for market turnover. Market turnover has shown a steady increase over the years – despite serious mismanagement on most markets.

It’s all about good PR

A former CEO of the Joburg Fresh Produce Market had a slick PR division that ensured he enjoyed excellent exposure in a variety of national publications. This created the impression that he was solely responsible for the enormous annual turnover in excess of R3 billion.The reality is somewhat different. Increased turnovers on markets have taken place for different reasons.

In some markets there’s a natural increase in volumes sent in by farmers, (although statistics show general market volumes declining in most cases), which has been offset by unusually high prices. These high prices were caused by a smaller range of products being available, and climatic factors. Market managers have nothing to do with any of these factors.

The role of modern marketing managers
In fact, unlike in the “old days”, modern market managers do very little to promote their markets to producers or buyers. The producer sends his products to a market and the market agent sells the products on his behalf. Market managers only provide the infrastructure and services to support the producers and for this the farmer pays him 5% market dues – money that is supposed to be used to run the market and to improve the facility.

The other three pillars of the market
Market agents, on the other hand, provide the sales and marketing services to the farmer. They canvass buyers and conclude deals.All of this begs the question – why don’t marketing managers give credit where it’s due? They are, after all, only one of the four pillars on which the market stands – the others being producers, market agents and buyers. Each depends on the other.

Mike Cordes (e-mail [email protected]).