MWRA 2006-2007 Writing Contest Winners

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Honorable Mention Winner, Grades 9-12
Elizabeth Crupi, Grade 10, Wilmington High School, Wilmington

Swing Away and Breathe Easy!

When trying to create a good marketing plan, you first must be sure you know as much as you can about the product you are trying to market. In this case, the product is Bay State Fertilizer. This fertilizer is created from the solid remnants of the wastewater, collected from 43 Massachusetts communities. The solids are processed in such manner that possible disease causing organisms are destroyed, and extreme offensive odors that would attract rodents, etc, are neutralized. The end result is an organic fertilizer. In Massachusetts, this process of converting the bio-waste into organic fertilizer is carried out by the New England Fertilizer Company. They have operated one of the world's largest sludge processing facilities in the world for over 10 years, so they have a proven record. Therefore, the end result is a high volume, low cost (as compared with chemical fertilizers) usable product that does not need to be dumped in a land fill.

With this knowledge, the best strategy would be to market this product to those who it would appeal to the most - environmentally conscious gardeners and high volume users. To get the environmentally conscious public aware of this product, you could set up displays in stores like Wild Oats, Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods. It would be helpful to have the display include live plants and pictures of farm produce being grown that is using this product as a fertilizer. Since more of the general population is becoming familiar with organic products and their benefits, you could also set up displays in Home Depot, Lowe's, and similar type stores.

To further entice this group of consumers who might not be willing to buy just because of the organic value of this product, you could offer free 2 pound sample bags for them to take home and try on house plants, etc. Another strategy is to use the town's newsletter, water bills etc. as marketing tools. For example, in Wilmington since our water comes from ground water in the town wells, towns like ours have a particular interest in keeping our groundwater safe.

This is not guaranteed when so many people use chemical fertilizers, so here again is a great tool for educating the public. Also, possibly a coupon could be provided to purchase the bio-solid fertilizer at a reduced price, or some type of discount on the water bill for those who use it.

One other plan to market this could be to get local landscaping companies to use and advertise the use of environmentally friendly fertilizer. As for the larger golf courses and farms, the trade magazines for these industries would be a great avenue to market this product. Possibly you could get the greens keepers for the courses to put small markers at the tees that would advertise the use of natural fertilizers.

Possibly they could include a statement such as: "We don't just want our grass green we also care about our golfers and wildlife... Swing away and breath easy!" Education is the key to all forms of marketing this product, especially since the positive effects of its use may take longer to see than traditional chemical fertilizers.

This is because organisms in the soil must convert the organic fertilizer to an inorganic state before it can be used by the plants and grass it is placed on, and this takes time. You could turn this fact into a positive by creating a slogan which uses a simple analogy to other things that are worth waiting for, like a good cheese or fine wine!

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