Challenge: What is viability of a novel technology in US markets? Solution: Detailed market analysis of organic soil supplement industry Impact: Distribution strategy reduces risk, provides new partnership opportunities in new markets
Agricultural company Northern Hemp Specialists Ltd. works with clients on finding organic solutions for growth and pathogen resistance for all plants, trees, ornamental flowers and even vineyards. More recently, they’ve found a customer base from medical and recreational cannabis growers, a sector that requires chemical and solvent-free organic soil products.
Today, the Toronto-based company is intent on revolutionizing the horticultural and agricultural industries with its latest technology. Named Mor-ganics, Northern Hemp Specialists describes the living soil products as “100 percent organic and which significantly boosts plant yields and eliminates pathogens,” says Greg Marsh, Northern Hemp Specialists president.
And while Northern Hemp Specialists is successfully selling Mor-ganics in Canada, they have their sights set on the growing United States market and beyond. First, they needed a thorough understanding of various growing markets and looked to Niagara College’s Business & Commercialization Solutions (BCS) (now known as the Business & Commercialization Innovation Centre) team at Research & Innovation for in-depth market research.
“We needed to assess the risk of doing business in the United States and beyond, and to determine the viability of distributing our Mor-ganics in the U.S., by doing a detailed market analysis of the organic soil supplement industry for all types of agriculture,” explains Marsh.
He points out that because his Mor-ganics brand is unique to the agricultural and horticultural industries, a marketing plan was “pivotal” to help prepare for the next goals and strategies for a U.S. or international product launch.
The BCS team completed extensive research, first tackling a competitive analysis to understand how the company’s product would adapt to the competitive landscape. They also assessed risk factors, geographic trends, and completed a targeted market analysis after an environmental scan.
“The energy and positive attitude from the research team to leave no resource unexamined to get us the answers for this marketing study were superb,” Marsh notes. “They became a welcome part of our corporate team.”
“We needed to assess the risk of doing business in the United States and beyond, and to determine the viability of distributing our Mor-ganics in the U.S. by doing a detailed market analysis of the organic soil supplement industry for all types of agriculture.”
~ Greg Marsh, president, Northern Hemp Specialists
The BCS team created a distribution strategy to assist Northern Hemp Specialists with breaking into new markets while overcoming challenges and barriers that represent a business threat. The company was provided with resources to make ideal connections with partners that could be beneficial for sharing infrastructure, labour and expertise.
“The research made us critically aware of the various levels we can access within the market with both wholesale and retail offerings,” says Marsh, adding that the team also highlighted potential regulatory issues.
Marsh says Northern Hemp Specialists will now incorporate the valuable marketing research data into their business plan and prepare for their international launch in 2022.
This project was funded by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.
Visit the Business & Commercialization Solutions website to learn more about the capabilities offered by the team or discover how initial feasibility research is helpful prior to engaging with Research & Innovation for applied research projects.