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Agrimarketing : November December 2009
November/December 2009 Agri Marketing 33 centers located strategically across the North American soybean belt. The company also has seven busi- ness units that serve growers. The team involved in making the decision on which products are commercialized include the product's breeder and representatives from research, the technical services, sales, production and marketing groups. "After thorough analysis and discus- sion with input from all parties," Schafer says, "the final decision is made by the technical service teams which are responsible to ensure Pio- neer is bring the best product lineup locally to the market." The key criterion for selection is whether the new product consis- tently outperforms those that are currently being marketed. The Y Series certainly did. THE LAUNCH "It takes six or more years to develop a new soybean variety," Schafer says. "The normal process is the breeder develops it, the technical people take it to the field, our internal sales team observes it, the external (sales rep or dealer) sales people learn about it and, finally, the customer has the chance to experience the product on their farm. "Because of the success the group of products that eventually became the Y Series was having in the early research results, the word spread quickly throughout the entire chain," he continues. "I've been in the seed business my entire career and never saw anything quite like it." Interest in the Y Series had a snowballing effect. The Pioneer team was confident they had a winner on their hands. "When most people think about Pioneer," Schafer says, "they auto- matically think about our corn hybrids first. However, we are the market leader in soybeans and we want people to know that as well. "While the Y Series was making its way through the research pipeline and showing consistent yield advan- tages and agronomic strengths, we decided it was the ideal time to make the Y Series launch a really big deal in the months leading up to the 2009 planting season," Schafer explains. "Due to their success in the pre-commercial field trials, we anticipated a lot of pent up demand," Schafer reports, "so we ramped up production in order to let as many customers gain experience with the Y Series varieties as possible." The commercial launch began in the spring of 2008 with the wide- spread planting of Y Series varieties in thousands of plots spread throughout the soybean growing regions. In late June and early July the Y Series and its availability were announced publicly. Dan Buck, Pioneer 's Soybean Marketing Communications Manager says, "It began with a series of teaser print and radio ads to pique grower inter- est and awareness for the Y Series." Y Series was one of the main focuses of the Pioneer employee sales conference kickoff held in Austin, TX, in late July. Later that summer, sales meetings were held across North America for over 3,500 Pioneer sales professionals. Then, growers were invited to observe the Y Series varieties in Field Day plots hosted by their local Pioneer sales professional. "By early August, our Y Series multi-media campaign was in full swing," Buck reports. For more on the campaign, its results and awards, see page 36. THE SALES APPROACH "Across North America, we have a network of over 5,000 sales representatives, dealers, field sales agronomists, account managers and field support staffs who interface directly with our customers to make sure the right variety gets planted on the right acre," Schafer says. "There is no one-size-fits-all solution or cookie-cutter approach, which means some products perform differently in different fields," says Schafer. "Because every product is different and every field is different, the key is for growers to optimize their efforts and choose products that will reap the greatest (more on page 34) WHAT'S IN A NAME? Pioneer 's numbering system for its new soybean varieties consists of four numbers plus a letter in the middle. "Initially, we were going to use a different letter in this series," reports Buck. "At one of the product advancement meetings, someone suggested we use the letter 'Y' as the middle letter in each variety's number. The "Y" stands for Yield ... and is the middle letter of the AYT system that was key to the Y Series development." It was an "Aha" moment and the group quickly adopted it. It also set in motion the successful marketing, sales and communications campaigns. AM A freeze frame from a Y series TV commercial. Ironically, the soybean field is located near Pioneer, IA.
Marketing Services Guide 2010
World Ag Congress