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Agrimarketing : November December 2008
age the buyswith value- added interviews. The agency workedwithMycogen Seeds agronomists to provide regional updates about grow- ing conditions, pest outbreaks and the performance of hybridswithHERCULEX XTRAInsect Protection. Theweekly call-in radio programswere known as “Western Bean Cutworm Alerts” andwere highly suc- cessful. The agronomists set pest traps and reported on their captures eachweek. “The segments had the feeling of a public service announcement because of the value they provided to local growers,” says Thekan. An insect identification kit drove home the broad-spectrumpest protection of HERCULEX XTRA. “These kitsweremailed to SPREADING THEWORD Layeredwith traditional tactics, the public relations teamexecuted a regular e-newsletter to licensees and sales reps. The newsletter, HERCULEX Connection,won a NAMAaward in 2007 for its content. It includes product efficacy data, pest updates, company news, and sales andmarketing tips. “Wehave had great successwith our e-newsletter,” says Claire Keyes, Senior PRAccount Executive for Bader Rutter. “The electronic format allows us to present timely content to licensees and retailers. If they find the content useful, it’s easy for them to forward it on.” In addition, a printed newsletter, Trait-TECHnologyUpdate, ismailed to university and industry experts to keep themabreastof the latest research and news aboutHERCULEX. NAME THATPEST After conversationswith Dow AgroSciences agronomists, the team hit on the idea of creating an insect identification kit—with real exam- ples of the pests thatwere controlled withHERCULEX XTRAInsect Protection.Nearly 1,000 kitswere assembled, containing five live pests per kit, to emphasize thewide spec- trumof insect protection provided byHERCULEX XTRA. The kits also incorporated details about economic losses associatedwith the five pests. agronomists, sales reps and licensees. Containing real bugs, the kits not only caught people’s atten- tion, they also served as excellent teaching tools and allowed growers to look at the key corn pests up close and personal,” says Thekan. CUSTOMIZABLE LITERATURE Tosupport seed company licensee efforts to promoteHERCULEX XTRA, Bader Rutter created an online customliterature tool “Power to Promote.” This tool continues to put the power in the hands of seed companies to create and personalize HERCULEX XTRAmaterialswith their own brand look. The www.PowerToPromote.com Web sitemakes it easy for licensees to promote their own hybridswith HERCULEX Insect Protection. Yet, providing templatedmaterials ensures a certain level of consistency in allHERCULEX XTRAcommuni- cations that reach themarket. This site allows registered users to tailor sell sheets, field signs, invi- tations and other literature pieces to include their select info—such as dealer name or company logo. They can upload their logo, relevant pic- tures and other localizedmaterials and drop theminto theHERCULEX XTRAtemplates. HERCULEX SEMINARS For the past three growing seasons, Bader Rutter has developed aggres- sive online training programs directed toward seed company sales teams. The two-part trainingmod- ules help sales reps to position hybrids containingHERCULEX XTRAwith customers. Themodules cover a full range of information, including pest geography updates, research results and technical data about the trait itself. “We also include selling tips and consumer satisfaction data,” says Keyes. In 2007,more than 800 licensees participated in the online training. This year an additional 450 com- pleted both seminars. Success is paving theway for the future in trait technology. The aligned brand strategy, aggressivemultimedia campaign and cultivation of seed company licensees has, in four short years, taken HERCULEX XTRAfroma brand with zero awareness to a suc- cessful player in the corn traitsmar- ket. The next step for HERCULEX XTRAis its combination with other newtraits in the next generation of in-plant insect protection— SmartStax—which is pending registration. The superior spectrumand proven performance ofHERCULEX XTRAhave validated the trait as an essential tool for growers tomaxi- mize yield. Seed companies also have been providedwith alternative trait and genetic packages to offer their growers amore diverse corn hybrid lineup. AM November/December 2008 s AgriMarketing 33
American Seed Trade Association