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Agrimarketing : November December 2007
While traditional information sources have proven helpful for a product launch, the Bayer CropScience, Research Triangle Park, NC, and Rhea & Kaiser Marketing Communications, Naperville, IL, account team searched for an innovative way to launch Oberon 2 SC miticide/insecticide, which provides superior protection against all stages of mites and white- flies in corn and many other crops. Although podcasting was intro- duced a couple of years ago, it had not been utilized in the ag industry at the time of the launch of Oberon in 2006. This gave the account team a good fit for the launch: a new mar- keting tool to introduce a new prod- uct to the agricultural sector. With 41% participation in the program, the launch proved successful. MAKING THE CONNECTION When introducing a new product, clients want to find the appropriate target audience. Growers depend heavily on their crop consultants for recommendations with insecticides, so they in turn comprised a natural focus area for the program. Specifically, the Bayer CropScience sales force identified consultants, Pest Control Advisers (PCAs) and retailers in the San Joaquin, Imperial and Yuma Valleys of California and Arizona, as well as in eastern Colorado, the panhandle of Texas, western Kansas and west- ern Nebraska. "Research showed consultants were tech-savvy, so we thought they would appreciate a different way to obtain knowledge on new products entering the market," says Jeff Walter, Rhea & Kaiser Mgmt Supvr. To connect with the target audi- ence, the team utilized other consul- tants for interviews that later were produced into podcasts. "We wanted to have the consul- tants hear about Oberon from some- one they trusted, someone they can relate to," Walter says. "So we inter- viewed additional consultants who had worked with Oberon and knew it to be a great product." The final result: four 3-minute podcasts, highlighting Oberon. "The podcasts gave us a unique way of using dialogue to connect with the consultants, and, ultimately, grower customers," Walter says. THE INCENTIVE Having a target audience with a working knowledge of technology, the account team understood they needed an incentive that integrated this component. It also needed to be equivalent to the time participants were spending learning about Oberon. Working with Apple, the team selected iPod Nanos as the comple- tion gift, complete with the Oberon logo etched on each device. "We thought an iPod would be a nice thank you for taking the time to learn about Oberon and all it has to offer growers," Walter says. PUTTING THE PLAN INTO ACTION With the background planning com- pleted, it was time to put the launch program into action. Since the pod- cast and Oberon were both new to the market, the team knew that the pro- motion of the program had to be something new, and different, as well. The first step was a dimensional mailing sent to target consultants and retailers. The mailer 's front featured a photo of earphones, leading recipi- ents to open the mailer box. Inside was an empty box with a single photo of an iPod. Verbiage then explained that, after listening to three podcasts featuring Oberon, the recipient could receive an actual iPod. The mailing also included a letter introducing the program and login information for registration on the Oberon launch Web site, using a pro- motional code. An Oberon technical bulletin served as the final compo- nent of the mailer. "The dimensional mailers really made a difference on the program and product promotion," Walter says. "Consultants paid attention to it because it was a different size and shape, and the slogan and images were also catchy." CONNECTING AND COMPLETING The mailer led the consultants to a Web site, designed and built by pro- ject partner VML, Inc. The site further introduced them to the features and benefits of Oberon and the podcasts. Prior to listening to the first pod- cast, consultants registered on the Web site with their individual pro- motional codes from the mailer. 24 AgriMarketing November/December 2007 PODCASTING CONNECTS PURCHASING INCLUENCERS WITH PRODUCT MESSAGING by Stacy Mayo, Rhea & Kaiser Marketing Communications The Oberon logo was etched on to each iPod.
2008 Marketing Services Guide