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Agrimarketing : February 2009
FOCUS: AG IN THE DIGITAL AGE ATTACHEDATTHEHIP(GOINGMOBILE) N by Chet Slump, President/Founder, iNet Solution Group ot so long ago a farmer’s handiest toolwas the pair of pliers in the leather holster attached to his belt.Nowthe tool hanging on his belt is no longer his pliers but the latest cell phone. Withmore uses than bailingwire, the cell phone provides userswith instant access to information and functionality that goeswell beyond a standard phone call. Cell phone usage among farmers is common place these days. This is especiallyevident atmost any farmshowor small town coffee shop.Asurvey by theAmerican FarmBureau Federation con- ducted inMarch2006 found that cell phone usage by younger farm- ers had grown to 92%. Farmers young and old find the utility of the cell phone an essential compo- nent of their daily lives. APPLICATIONS Likemost newtechnology inno- vations, the list of cell phone applications is growing faster than corn on a hot July day.The latest cell phones are equipped withmegapixel cameras,Web browsers, e-mail applications, text messaging, calendars, GPS naviga- tion and evenmobile television. These smart phones are becoming common place and nearly every phone being produced today can text, browse and take pictures. More andmore agribusinesses are communications to augment our services. Its acceptance and our successwith iNet SolutionGroup’s FarmCentricNotify systemare beyond ourwildest expectations.” His customers like to know Tenneywill reach themif something major happens in themarket. Likewise, JeffMcWardwith Western Illinois Commodities, Carlinville, IL, has been using voice broadcast technology for several years and reports “with the Farm- to utilize the cell phone formore purposes. In a recent survey con- ducted byHarris Interactive, itwas discovered that “over the next three years, 57%ofmobile phone owners anticipate using their phones for more than justmaking and receiving phone calls”. FarmProgress Companies recently addedmobile technology and text-messaging to their 18 magazine sites. “The FarmCentric mobile product has allowed us to reach out to growers across the country—anytime, anywhere— keeping our brand top-of-mind.” commentedWillie Vogt of Farm Progress. Branding isn’t the only Chet Slump (R) and iNet Solutions Group’s VP Dan Kuyper. They recently launched the FarmCentric product line that includes voice broadcast, text messaging and mobile phone applica- tions. For more information, phone: 402/330-0636 or go to www.farmcentric.com. Centric voice broadcast system, all of our clients get the samemessage within just a fewminutes. In our business, timing is critical.” finding theway to reach the farmer on the go is to take themessage to them. Themobility requirement of farming lends itself particularlywell to the portability of the cell phone. Market advisory services, aswell as other agribusinesses, have found the cell phone to be a reliable deliv- ery vehicle to reach their farmer cus- tomers. Using voice broadcast and text- messaging to deliver a timelymes- sage helps keep LeistMercantile customers on top of themarkets. LeistMercantile’sDoug Tenney, Circleville, OH, says “Our customers have embraced the use ofmobile 40 AgriMarketing s January/February 2009 MARKETING OPPORTUNITY Althoughmost agribusinesses have Web sites today, it ismy observation that themajority do not include a mobile site or text-messaging that can be easily viewed using aWeb-enabled phone.Many agribusinesses assume thatmost of their customers don’t haveWeb-enabled phones. The growth of cell phoneswith Internet access and newsmart phones (such as the Blackberry,iPhone, etc.) is occur- ring rapidly.According to a recent PewResearch article, 25%of Internet users say they have a cell phone that connects to the Internet and upwards to70%have text-messaging. Nowis the time to establish that mobile presence.Withwide spread usage of the cell phone already at hand, the natural progressionwill be advantage to amobile presence. Josh St. Peterswith FarmWeek magazine, Bloomington, IL, has found that providing amobile solution increases their reach and enhances their publication.He reports, “The FarmCentric mobile product helped us take ourmember publication to the next level.With FarmWeek Mobile,we’re able to reach out to a newsegment of ourmembership seekingmore information on- demand. Theweather,markets and customizable news content is highly valuable to the farmerswework with, and it’s easy to use, too!” Providing both text-messaging andmobile services allowthose pro- ducerswho are alreadyWeb-enabled with the opportunity to “opt-in” to valuable services,many ofwhich are free. Seeing the availability and func- tionality of these services should promptmore producers to embrace the technology and take advantage of the growing trend. With nearly every producer car- rying a cell phone today,mobilemar- keting in the agriculturemarket place should be poised to explode. It is just amatter of time before an ag producer riding his GPS guided trac- tor gets a video presentation from his farmequipment dealer spon- sored by his local bank on his new Web-enabled cell phone. AM
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