Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Survey of scale and scope of organic marketing initiatives in Europe

Deeper insight into the conditions in which OMIs operate successfully comes from a detailed analysis of OMIs comprising sixty-seven case studies in thirty-five European regions, interviewing OMI managers as well as external experts. These regions, selected on common criteria, were grouped in less favoured areas and non-LFAs, of which some had favourable conditions and others unfavourable.

The assessment of the OMIs surveyed showed that internal business-related factors are more decisive for success than external, context-related factors. Yet, in some cases, external factors (such as niche demands, policy support measures) can improve their potential.

The analysis made clear that the vision of the founders, their strategic options and their management choices primarily determine an OMI s success; in particular, the adaptation of strategic objectives to changing market and political environments during different phases of development. Also, maintaining the motivation of members and other internal and external cohesion factors are major challenges to achieving not only economic, but also wider social, environmental and political goals.

A basic assumption of the analysis is that choice of different objectives has a crucial impact on the OMIs strategies and, consequently, on their successful development. It became apparent that OMIs aiming for social or environmental objectives tend to underestimate financial needs. In particular, such OMIs lack competency in financial management, in contrast to those with clear economic objectives. On the other hand, OMIs focusing mainly on economic objectives tend to neglect both human relations and regional networking.

The most challenging marketing strategies and management issues for OMIs are improving their supply policy (in sufficient quantity and quality), keeping logistic costs to a minimum and not relying too much on public funding. A final key success factor for an OMI is networking; along the supply chain and also in the region.

However, success is seen in more general terms as combining effectiveness (formulating and achieving strategic objectives in line with initiators expectations) and efficiency (achieving objectives while maximising output at minimum cost). This relates to the capacity of OMIs to set and achieve relevant economic, social and environmental objectives, and manage internal resources in a manner which minimises costs for a given output (or maximises output for a given cost), taking into account changing market and policy conditions.

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