January 1984 // Volume 22 // Number 1 // Tools of the Trade // 1TOT1

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Marketing Extension

Marketing Coopertative Extension. Bob Topor. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Media Services, 1982. 45 pp. $2.27 in New York, $3.25 out of state.

Jim Long,
"TT" editor
Washington State University

Howard Ladewig
Texas A & M University

Albert Powell, Jr.
Washington State University

Marketing Extension

This is practical guide to help Extension people understand and apply marketing techniques to their work. It has a number of strengths, and few weaknesses. The publication's main strengths are:

  1. Brevity, making it quick to read and less intimidating.
  2. Simple wording, comprehensible to the layperson.
  3. An excellent, concise explanation of marketing principles and how they apply to Extension.
  4. Stress placed on the need for two-way communication between Extension and its clients.

These strengths make it appropriate for people not familiar with marketing techniques and terminology, and make it possible for Extension people to see a connection between marketing and their jobs. It's a good "how-to" guide that most Extension people should find helpful. There are two weaknesses in the publication: one of content, the other of organization.

The content issue depends on your point of view: all Topor's examples illustrate problems and plans at the county agent/client level. This is fine if you work at that level, but state-level workers and administrators have little in this publication to relate to. Also, the most effective long-term marketing plans are those that cross county boundaries and represent the organization as a whole. The lack of such plans has been a weakness in Extension in the past. Although many plans and programs can be carried out independently in single counties, the publication doesn't address the need for organization-wide coordination in marketing. It would be a stronger work if this were indicated and urged. Inclusion of material related to this might also increase the perceived relevance for state-level people.

The weakness in organization may be only a personal perception, but the placement of worksheets in this pubiication was distracting to this reviewer. Topor includes a one-page worksheet for each section; but since some sections are only two pages long, the worksheets broke my concentration and interrupted the continuity of the work. It would be preferable to consolidate them and put them at the end of the publication.

The worksheets themselves are well-planned and constructive, but I think they'd be more helpful if placed together so that a reader could develop a marketing plan step by step without having to jump from text to worksheet and back continually.
Even with the minor problems noted, Topor's marketing guide is a most helpful planning tool. It's a worthwhile piece for teaching basic concepts of marketing and for showing Extension people how to use those concepts to advantage in their work.