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Agrimarketing : May 2012
42 Agri Marketing May 2012 2012 NAMA MARKETER OF THE YEAR Growing up in Sioux Falls, SD, Greg Guse served as the ad manager for his high school's newspaper. And, when he went on to Augustana College in Sioux Falls, he became ad manager for the college's newspaper. "I guess the advertising industry was always in my blood," says Guse who is the National Agri-Marketing Association's (NAMA) 2012 Marketer of the Year, the industry's highest honor. Guse currently serves as the President of Paulsen Marketing, Sioux Falls, where, surprisingly, he was an intern during his senior year at Augustana College. "I got the agency bug during that internship," Guse remembers. "I was able to sit in on client meetings, go on photo and TV shoots, and meet some of the industry's best people." And while his career might indicate that he had his roots on the farm, "I grew up a city kid," says Guse. "I didn't know much about agriculture. Fortunately, I've had great mentors in the business." A LEAP OF FAITH Guse's first job in ag marketing was with GTA Feeds. "I knew I had a lot to learn about agriculture and the livestock industry," says Guse. "Still, Ron Claussen (currently President of Ag Media Research) took a leap of faith by hiring this young guy right out of college." According to Claussen, "I first met Greg Guse in 1976 when I hired him to be an assistant in the Communications Department of GTA Feeds. Greg did not have an agricultural background. But, within one year he earned the respect and confidence of 50 grizzled, road- warrior feed salesmen. Greg had a great work ethic, a tenacity to learn, a desire to serve, and a conviction to treat others fairly and with respect. Thirty-five years later, he still does." Guse also received a lot of support from Roger Olsen, then Director of GTA Corporate Communications, and Dr. Darwin Britzman who, at the time, was head of nutrition and research at GTA Feeds. Dr. Britzman offered the young Guse a constant flow of information about animal nutrition and the livestock market. Guse says he absorbed all the information he could find and credits Dr. Britzman with providing him one of the best educations on the feed industry. Personal one-on-one experiences with livestock producers were also a big help for Guse. "On my first day at GTA, I was sent to Dickenson, ND, to assist with an open house and dedication of a new production plant," he says. "I spent a week there, meeting face-to-face with feed dealers and livestock producers. I was very fortunate to have had that opportunity." Guse also spent weeks on the road with feed salesmen. "I thoroughly loved it. I made a concentrated effort to learn everywhere I went." SATISFYING THE AGENCY BUG Guse's next career step put him in the agency business. "I went to Martin Williams in Minneapolis on the account side," Guse recalls. "We were working on Cargill Seeds and ADM Feeds where we were helping bring in different feed brands under the ADM banner. They were great accounts to work on." Then, in 1986, Guse returned to Sioux Falls, joining Lawrence Schiller Advertising where he worked with such clients as Hubbard Milling Company and Citibank, South Dakota, N.A. "IBM, in partnership with Citibank, had developed an innovative process at the Sioux Falls credit card operation where you could actually scan documents to a disk --- a very large disk," says Guse. "At the time, it was revolutionary. And I had responsibility for helping coordinate tours at Citibank for IBM's prospective clients for this new technology. It was another great learning experience and opportunity." In 1992, Guse and partners Ron Claussen and Scott Swenson opened their own marketing communications agency, Gregory Scott Advertising. One of their early ALWAYS KEEP LEARNING by Mike Gustafson, Deer's Landing (more on page 44) Paulsen Marketing President and the 2012 National Agri-Marketing Association's Marketer of the Year, Greg Guse.