Advertising seedstock 101: Make a plan, stick to it

In the first two parts of Advertising Seedstock 101, we sat down with Eric Grant, president and general manager of Angus Productions Inc. to learn about the importance of having a professional website and knowing your customers. In part three, we'll lay out why it is essential to make a plan - and then stick to it.

Just like a reputable seedstock operation is not built overnight, it takes time to put together an effective marketing plan.

Producers first need to set a budget for paid advertising, along with extra costs for development of the ads, like graphic design, video work or audio clips. Once the budget is made, stick to it.

"The problem for most seedstock producers is they only think about selling something when it is imminent — like 45 days from a production sale. Instead of having a steady plan, a lot of money tends to get thrown at last-minute panic buying," Grant says. "Make a plan, follow the budget, and you'll be able to focus your attention on other issues as sale day approaches."

Whether or not you have customer survey data to help determine where to make advertising investments, don't put all your eggs in one basket. Online campaigns such as newsletters or banner ads with publications are going to hit different demographics than print ads in regional and national agricultural publications. Same with radio.

"Radio advertising can be really effective, depending on what region of the country you are in," Grant says. "The Corn Belt and High Plains regions tend to perform better than mountain areas."

Advertising also needs to be looked at as a long-term, continuous plan. Consistency in colors and messages needs to be kept to create familiarity. Operations need to find a color palette that suits their business and incorporate it into all aspects of their image, Grant says, adding that a simple and clean logo is equally essential. Part of a long-term plan also means keeping a presence with customers even when there isn't anything to sell.

"One of the effective ways people should think about advertising is to connect with customers when they don't need to buy anything from you. This makes it more about the customers' experience and staying in the forefront of their minds," Grant says. "Summer magazines tend to be fairly small for publications, but that is a great time to run something so customers know they are still out there and alive."

As the sale approaches, it's go time.

"Start pushing your offering pretty hard about 90 days in advance of sale day," he says. "This is early enough to start catching people's attention without them forgetting about you by the time sale day arrives."

Advertising seedstock 101: Have a professional website

Advertising seedstock 101: Know your customers