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Agrimarketing : April 2008
64 AgriMarketing April 2008 IN MEMORIUM: CLANCY STROCK (1924-2007) Editor's note: Legendary ag communicator Clancy Strock passed away recently. During his career, he worked for a number of ad agencies, including the one he founded Cooper, Strock and Scannel. For a full obit, go to www.AgriMarketing.com and type his name into the search engine. From 1983 through 1986 he kept agri- marketers entertained with a regular column in this magazine. Here's one of our favorites, appearing in April 1984. Anephew, recently graduated from ag school, called in a state of high excitement the other day. He is employed by an old-line agri-marketing company and has just been informed he could attend the upcoming National Agri-Market- ing Association (NAMA) convention ... as long as he drives his own car and visits a few dealers on his way to Kansas City. The kid is big --- big enough to eat hay --- but I swear I could hear his knees knocking even over the telephone. He wanted to know about the proper way to conduct himself, having heard that careers have been made --- and ruined --- at a single meeting. "You are wise to have called," I said. "Your white-haired old uncle has witnessed strange and wonder- ful happenings at these conferences." "So do you have any advice for someone going to their first one?" Does the South have boll weevils? Does Dave Garst have opinions? Do ad agencies have vice presidents? Here's what I told the young man. Hallways are where it's at. The first- timer makes the logical --- but tragic --- mistake of assuming that just because the program is taking place in the Grand Ballroom, that's where he should be. As a result, he or she misses the Real Seminar, which takes place in the corridor or hallway out- side the meeting room. The old hands fight for the choice hallway positions, the best being where people stumble off the escalator. Other prime locations are near the public phones or within 50 feet of the magazine that passes out the free milk. The real business of these meet- ings is conducted in the corridors. New business pitches are made. Magazine space is sold. Jobs are secured. Trade secrets and other lies are exchanged. Rumors are started and enriched. If you are unavoidably trapped in the crush of the crowd and find you- self inside the meeting room, remem- ber one simple rule: Don't sit down! Stand against the side (not rear) wall. Look at your watch from time to time. Yawn. Check your pocket appointment calendar. Project the image of one who has vastly more important things to do, but is gra- cious enough to mingle with those who, alas!, have more to learn about the business. Check your watch once again, shake your head in annoyance and exit briskly. Few things can so quickly establish you in the industry as one to be reckoned with, a person on the rise. Prioritize the hospitality rooms. The key here is to ascertain which ones traditionally have good food. Hit them first and save the chips and dip- pretzels-mixed nuts guys for later. I learned this the hard way one year when a hog magazine featured an entire roast suckling pig. I dallied elsewhere too long. By the time I arrived, the remains of the pig looked like an exhibit in the Museum of Natural Science --- bare bleached bones and nothing more. Tips for the newcomer: Latch on to an overweight type with busted blood vessels in his nose. This bird will know where to find the good food and drink. Follow him closely. Lobby Gamesmanship (A.M.): It is absolutely essential to be seen com- ing in the lobby from outside at 7:45 each morning of the conference, sweat staining your jogging clothes. Not 7:30, because the honest drinkers won't be on hand to witness your entry. Not 8:15, because Old Hands will have moved to their homestead plot outside the Grand Ballroom. Jogging attire is not expensive, and a half glass of warmish water poured on chest, back and hair simu- lates perspiration quite nicely. Go out the rear entrance, pour water, trot around to the front entrance --- it takes five minutes and will do won- ders for your career. Lobby Gamesmanship (P.M.): Immediately after lunch, take up a high-visibility position in the lobby, either wearing tennis clothes and carrying a racquet, or colorful slacks and carrying a bag of golf clubs. This will quickly establish that you pos- sess the requisite Business Social Graces and qualify as a Complete Gentlemen. Don't worry if you can't play either game. Always explain that you are "waiting for my group" and you can slink back to your room later in the afternoon for a well-earned nap. My nephew thanked me pro- fusely, for all this wisdom. "Just one more tip," I said. "Always be cool. Remember to mention that you really were too busy to attend and only came because of all the awards you won." "How about the programs?" he asked. "Are they worthwhile?" "Gosh, kid, what with 5-6 hours a day standing in the corridor, plus jogging and golf and tennis, and up until all hours at the hospitality room, it's pretty tough to squeeze in time for the programs. Like I said, you gotta prioritize things." AM HOW TO ATTEND A NAMA CONFERENCE by Clancy Strock Strock
May 2008 Supplement