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Agrimarketing : October 2009
50 Agri Marketing I October 2009 AM: What is Channel Bio, LLC? JZ: Channel Bio, LLC is one of the largest seed companies in the U.S. Our mission has always been to be the American farmers’ most trusted source for seed, by providing high- performing products and personal- ized services. Channel Bio became part of Monsanto in November 2004 and now our three regional brands: Crow’s Hybrids, NC+ Hybrids and Midwest Seed Genetics have taken on the family name of Channel. AM: What does the new Channel brand mean to farmers? JZ: Channel is being elevated to a new, premier brand backed by a company that is committed to provide farmers with the highest- level customer experience in the industry. We are focused on delivering a “high-touch, high-tech” approach that increases our cus- tomers’ probability of achieving success by providing high-perform- ing products and innovative services. By “high-tech,” we mean that the Channel brand will have access to parent company Monsanto’s leading genetics, traits and seed treatment technologies, as well as value-added services to meet customers’ varying needs. “High-touch” refers to the customized service we provide through our seedsmanship approach. AM: What is seedsmanship? JZ: Seedsmanship is central to Channel Bio’s customer-first philosophy. The term refers to how the company evaluates, produces and positions its seed products, including the seed professionals who provide sales and service support based on an in-depth understanding of their customers’ farming operations. We call these seed profes- sionals “seedsmen.” Each of our Channel Seedsmen takes the time to get to know a customer ’s operation and have access to excellent management and agronomic resources to get answers for their customers. Seedsmanship is an everyday practice. Through the years, we have found that successful farmers desire an adviser who has a deep understanding of their needs. As farming becomes more challenging, we believe Channel Bio is uniquely suited to offer this kind of customer relationship. With employees and dealers working directly with farmers, we have the ability to deliver industry-leading seedsmanship to support their success throughout the planting, growing and harvesting seasons, field-by-field. AM: How does a single brand help support these objectives? JZ: The legacy of our three, strong regional brands will be preserved in the Channel brand, including an extensive offering of hybrids and varieties. However, a single Channel brand will allow us to better focus our energy and resources to deliver a new standard of performance and service. It will also enable us to simplify and streamline our business and more efficiently manage our product lineup. A single, premier brand also means that more resources and capabilities will be available under the Channel brand than the three regional brands could provide separately. Channel will be elevated in the marketplace as a top tier seed brand in the industry. AM: Why did Monsanto choose Channel Bio for this elevated role? JZ: Since it was formed, Channel Bio has focused on a direct sales approach and has built a significant seed business based on its seeds-manship focus and relationships with farmers. This approach represents a good fit within Monsanto’s seed business, and the company is resourcing Channel to do an even better job for our customers. AM: Are there any special marketing/ communications programs announcing the new Channel brand? JZ: In early October, we launched an extensive advertising campaign positioning the Channel brand in the seed marketplace. Our tagline, “Seedsmanship at Work,” resonates strongly with corn and soybean farmers throughout our market area. We also have some new Channel sales programs with relationship- based appeal that are being offered to both new and existing customers. AM: When do the changes become effective in terms of your three regional brands? JZ: For the 2010 season, all Channel products with Monsanto’s Genuity traits will be delivered in Channel bags. All other Channel products will be delivered in legacy brand (Crow’s, NC+ or Midwest Seed Genetics) bags for 2010 planting. For 2011 planting and beyond, we anticipate delivering all seed products in Channel branded bags. The three regional brands, Crow’s Hybrids, Midwest Seed Genetics and NC+ Hybrids, are expected to be fully migrated into the new Channel brand by next summer. AM: What has the reaction been so far to the change? JZ: Customer response to the new Channel brand has been very posi- tive and we are excited about the opportunities this will provide for our customers and our employees. United as one brand, and fortified by Monsanto, we’re ready to set a new standard of performance and person- alized partnership. AM Name: Jim Zimmer Title: CEO of Channel Bio, LLC Career: Various leadership roles within Monsanto such as VP, U.S. Branded Business and Marketing Lead for the U.S. Chemistry, Trait and Seed businesses. Education: Executive Masters of Business Administration (EMBA), Washington University, St. Louis, MO. : Channel Bio, LLC SEEDSMANSHIP AT WORK 50 View From the Top:70 View From the Top 10/1/09 4:46 PM Page 50
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