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Agrimarketing : November December 2007
32 AgriMarketing November/December 2007 Founded a short two years ago, the Ethanol Promo- tion and Information Council (EPIC), Omaha, NE, has exceeded expectations within the industry. Created by a dedicated group of ethanol manufactur- ers, its goal is to create a "pull" strategy for the product, to accompany the "push" that had been established by the federal government energy policy. EPIC is funded by a voluntary checkoff type program, in which its ethanol manufacturer members contribute to a general fund, based on their gallonage. In addition, the council has members that are allied to the industry and creates special projects and events to promote the product. "To get started, we conducted a market research study among consumers in the Witchia, KS, area two years ago," EPIC Exec Dir Tom Slunecka explains. "We wanted to see what was on their minds about ethanol, and if it was branded at the fuel pump, whether they would vol- untarily purchase it." What EPIC learned was very encouraging. "We found out the consumers' hot points about ethanol were: • It was good for the economy because it was home- grown and less reliant on oil imports, • It was better for the environment, and • It was good for their vehicle. All three points continue to form EPIC's messages. "Our next step was to create a recognizable brand that is prominently displayed on the fuel pump so the consumer can identify the product, and select it," Slunecka says. "In conjunction with other groups, such as state corn grower associations, we also worked with state regula- tory agencies to encourage them to recognize the EPIC "e" brand logo and to promote adopting the branding of ethanol at the pump," he says. "So far, 25 states have rec- ognized the logo and several are now requiring it." The latest estimate is that 20,000 pumps carry the "e" brand logo. Considering 52% of all gasoline has some ethanol in it, clearly there is additional opportunity for EPIC and its supporters. GET INVOLVED If agri-marketers like how ethanol has impacted its cus- tomers, markets and stock price, Slunecka has some sim- ple advice: get involved in creating further demand for the fuel. • Make sure your fleet of vehicles are flex-fuel and can be powered by E85, • If your organization is in the fuel business, be sure all of your stations carry E85, • Join EPIC. "If any ag-based organization isn't doing the three steps above," Slunecka says, "then shame on them. ethanol has been good to them, it's time for them to be good to ethanol." For more information, go to: http://www.epicinfo.org. AM PRODUCT OF THE YEAR FUELING CONSUMER ACCEPTANCE by the AgriMarketing editors The EPIC directors gather around the trailer that is used at the events it hosts around the country. (L to R) Reece Nanfito, Sr Dir of Mktg; Tom Slunecka, Exec Dir; Joanna Schroeder, Dir of Comms, and Robert White, Dir of Ops. Not pictured: Barbara Miller, Mktg Mgr; Jennifer Powell, Mktg Coordinator; Elizabeth Hilpipre, Comms Coordinator; Michelle Gibilisco, Alternative Blends Coordinator; Steve Rust, Outgoing Dir of Industry Relations, James Jirak, Incoming Dir of Industry Relations; Todd Larson; Acc't Exec; Ben Butterfield, Controller, Jacqui Warren, Accounting Mgr, Melanie Barger, Office Mgr
2008 Marketing Services Guide