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Agrimarketing : July August 2008
30 AgriMarketing ¦ July/August 2008 Editor’s note: At the 2008 National Agri-Marketing Association’s (NAMA) annual conference held last spring, a panel of marketers and agency representatives discussed what they want from the ag media. OPPORTUNITIES Dave Patterson Mgr, Marketing Communications John Deere Credit, Johnston, IA Patterson oversees the Marketing Communications activities that sup- port John Deere Credit’s products and services, including equipment financing and leasing, Farm Plan, Crop Insurance, and Wind Energy. He says “shift” is continually happening in the ag marketplace. “Our markets and customers are always evolving,” Patterson reports. “We have to stay on top of who and how many ag producers are buy- ing/financing new equipment, as well as the used equipment. Also, who are the decision-makers and how do we most efficiently reach and influence them? And, more so going forward, how do they reach us?” An additional challenge to improving its media mix, according to Patterson, is finding a way to over- come the momentum of constantly doing things the way we’ve always done them. Patterson says the ag media has a significant opportunity to assist his group in dealing with these chal- lenges. “It starts with the media hav- ing a relevant understanding of our products and services,” Patterson explains. “With that, they can bring insightful contributions about our customers and prospects, plus mar- keting ideas that reflect this under- standing and knowledge, and thus help drive our businesses forward.” To accomplish that, he says, “Bot- tom line, do your homework! Knowl- edge brings creditability.” Patterson says ag media holds a unique position to help his group keep up with changes in its markets. “In addition to traditional advertis- ing research,” he continues, “there is some ‘thinking outside the box’ type of research that can be useful.” One study he cites was conduct- ed by a research company that con- nected media mix options to the cus- tomers’ purchase cycle. “It didn’t particularly hype that firm’s reach and media solutions. Instead, it dis- covered opportunities from a mar- keters’ point of view that proved to be very useful in our activities that year. I very much admired that com- pany for bringing that kind of objec- tive research to us.” He also cites the need for addi- tional research on the new media options and how they can be used more effectively. “Look at all the new ‘stuff’ we now have,” he says. In addition to traditional print, radio, direct marketing, and TV, agri-mar- keters, offerings include: • Web sites — where the impact of 2.0 needs to be better known • Audio/visual podcasts • Mobile devices — including cell phones, Blackberries, etc. • YouTube • Supporting content syndication (RSS feeds) • Digital publications — now with interactive multimedia capabilities • Search engines • Blogs, and • Social networks/communities. He encourages the media to get active with new media and create and recommend marketing opportunities for his team to access. “The media has a strong relation- ship with ag producers and the distri- bution channel,” Patterson says. “You can create ‘communities’ for mar- keters like us to participate. So, as you establish these new groups, con- tinue to bring them to us as part of a muti-media package and we will test them with our offerings. “The convergence of traditional and online media is clearly upon us,” he observes. “Our media recommen- dations and your pricing needs to reflect this new environment. We also need assistance in understanding the metrics and what they mean.” To start, he encourages all involved in the ag communications profession to read the book “Meat- ball Sundae” by Seth Godin. He says it provides a quick-read overview of the changing media landscape and what’s on the way. He says the ag media is in a posi- tion to know and understand the ag producer better than any marketer ever will. “You can provide the objec- tivity and insights we need as we make our decisions. You can also keep us current on ‘shifts’ in media usage and preferences.” He concludes, “You can Surprise and Delight us! But, can you be hon- est with us, and yourselves, as the ‘shift’ happens?” MARKETERS AND THE AG MEDIA Shown following their NAMA panel discussion are (l to r) Dave Patterson, Pat Reese, Kim Dawson and Laurie Christen.
CAMA 2008 Canada