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Agrimarketing : May 2009
38 Agency Leaders Update:32 Feature Story 5/13/09 11:32 AM Page 38 AGENCY LEADERS/continued frompage 36 But experience can never come at the expense of newideas. Youmust always evolve. Our agency has invested heavily in expanding our expertise in creative, relationship marketing, interactive and consumer public relations—while staying true to our niche.We stand at the intersection of urban and ruralAmerica. We stand there for good reason. The outside influences on agriculture gain voice every day. Take for example themovie entitled Food Inc., which comes out in theatres June 12. The premise is predictable: “big” agriculture is bad, “local” ag is sustainable and responsible. The question all of us representing agriculture must ask: howdowe collectively defend our industry? Our industry has great stories. Unfortunately,we’ve always been better communicating themto each other than consumers. Thatmust change. In this industrywe need a megaphone thatworks in both directions.Whilewe represent agriculture to consumer audiences,wemust also carrymessages back to ruralAmerica. Agriculture can never turn a deaf ear to consumerswhen 98%of them are a generation ormore removed fromthe farm. The stakes are too high.Wemustmanage issues before they becomemandates. AQUARIUMDIGITAL ENGAGEMENT Adivision ofMcCormick Company Kansas City,MO www.mccormickcompany.com by Kori Skinner, Chief Innovation Officer Asmarketing budgets have thinned, our agricultural clients are recognizing the value of integrating digital with their traditionalmarketing strategies. Over the past fewyears, we’ve helped clientsmove theirWeb presence beyond the informational brochure to a true hub for allmarketing efforts. Most recently,we’re seeing a lot of interest in understanding howto use socialmedia tools like Facebook, LinkedIn,MySpace and Twitter. Clients are looking for cost-effective ways to carry on conversationswith their customers and that’swhat digital does best. Our interactive division, 38 Agri Marketing s May 2009 AquariumDigital Engagement, has matured, offering clients complete interactive capabilities, digital strategy, site design, online advertising, e-mail andmobilemarketing, search optimization, blogging/podcasting, social networking, interactive games and application development. Farmers and producers have always been early adopters of technology and aswe overcome the (perceived) lack of broadband access, we’re seeing brands ready to test the waterswith pilot programs like exclusive iPhone or smart phone applications. Digital lead generation pro- grams, through online advertising, e-mail, search or site-specific features are growing because of the ROI on quality leads. Once a prospect has raised a hand in interest, digital excels at keeping that leadwarm throughoutwhat can sometimes be,withmachinery and equipment, for example, a long sales process. Some companies are even Skinner automating a lot of that customer contact.As long as it’s customized andwell-branded, there are lots of ways to push outmarketingmessages: e-mail, search, forums, blogs, Twitter. Digital engagement is particu- larly effective in the public relations arena. Journalistswantmost everything digitally nowand they are really plugged into using the Internet as a source of information, sowe’re helping clientsmake sure their sites are built not only for customers but for other stakeholder audiences, like reporters and editors, too. The inbound links that you get fromawell-executed online publicity campaign canmake or break your search rankings andwhether prospects can find your information when they are looking for it. It takesmore than reposting your marketing or PRmessage in cyberspace.You need to understand how user interactionwith digitalmedia dif- fers and howto best hone yourmessage to engage your target throughout the lead conversion funnel. Making sure all of these new opportunities are integrated hand-inhandwithwhat hasworked for years iswhat setsMcCormick Company apart. CHARLESTON|ORWIG Milwaukee,WI www.codemand.com byMarcy Tessmann, Group Director Charleston|Orwigwas founded in 1992 and has grown tomore than 50 employees specializing in agriculture marketing communications and public relations aswell as reputationmanagement initiativeswith Fortune 500 companies.Nearly all of our business is in agriculture and the food industry. As the economic crisis continues, our clients have placed greater emphasis on identifying specific targetmarketswithin theirmarket categorywhere an investment in communicationswill have the greatest impact.With greater regularity this rifle approach iswinning out over a general approach that reacheswider audiences.And integrating the sales organization into themix has become even more critical, so thatmarketing efforts are timed andmessaged appropriately to make sales activitiesmore effective. Our understanding of various Tessmann market segmentswithin ag helps us provide the appropriate counsel to guide our clients and help themsegment differentmarkets, understand what farmers in these segments need, and develop the appropriate communications initiatives to reach these segments through channels that have the greatest impact. When budget and timelines allow, we have found that incorporating market research in segmentation efforts is invaluable.Not only does it help usmore accurately define specific segments, butwe can also drill down within each segment to better understand differenceswithin each target.
May 2009 Supplement