To say that the world is rapidly changing is an understatement, and this is no less true in marketing and promotion. The traditional concept of outbound marketing has been eclipsed by content and inbound marketing in recent years, and the use of social media and content generation as a marketing tool to sell products has become the new “pink pill.”
Does all that mean we leave behind the tried-and-true concepts and tools of outbound marketing? In industries that thrive on personal contact, belief in a company and its principles, and sales and transactions are still done face-to-face, the answer is a resounding NO!
Outbound marketing contrasts with inbound marketing in that it utilizes tools that “push” the message out to customers. These tools include print advertising, broadcast (TV and radio) advertising, online advertising, direct mail, catalogs, eblasts, tradeshows, group presentations and even cold calls. Outbound marketing is typically event- or product-driven, and many label it as a “hard sell” or “disruptive.” Don’t let those less-than appealing descriptors turn you off to the benefits of outbound marketing.
So how do agricultural enterprises such as seedstock operations and/or non-profits utilize outbound marketing to their benefit? It begins with understanding the strengths of outbound marketing tools and utilizing them to your advantage.
Outbound marketing allows you to target an audience or prospect, whereas inbound marketing relies on the customer finding you. That concept helps determine the type and purpose of your messaging.
Outbound marketing is more direct and detailed than inbound, and because it typically focuses on an event (your annual production sale) or a product (this year’s bull or female crop), the message can be very clear and specific. Providing details about the product and service is vital, and conveying them in a manner that the audience likes, appreciates and will consume is essential. Basically, make sure your marketing materials look and sound like your customers and evoke feelings of trust and confidence. You want to make sure your message tells them what they want to hear, solves a problem they might have or provides a product that fills a need.
Outbound marketing tools allow you to tailor your message about the product or service and to provide a great deal of information, if appropriate. This is why sale catalogs and pre-sale ads work so well for seedstock producers. They allow producers to showcase individual genetic packages that are of interest to buyers and to provide very detailed, specific information (think EPDs, registration numbers, pedigrees, photos, etc.) that will attract multiple prospects – a very important concept when products are sold at auction.
Outbound marketing also enables you to attract multiple potential customers for a single product (a bull) vs. attracting multiple buyers for a product that is mass produced. Auctions are infinitely more successful if you have multiple buyers for individual products!
Even before creating and distributing your outbound marketing materials, you need to know how to reach your customer – which in many cases means having their name, address and email. Having that contact information allows you to send them information such as direct mail, sale catalogs, newsletters and the like. Building a customer list is time consuming in terms of data entry, and takes months – if not years – to accumulate, but the payoff is worth it when you have a large list that you can send your sale information to. Take the time to build a large, high-quality prospect list; it is time and money well spent.
If you do not have a large contact list or you simply want to reach out to additional prospects, then utilizing outbound avenues that reach your known customer base is a vital tool. In seedstock marketing, this includes print and online advertising, eblasts and, in some cases, broadcast marketing. The key is to look for those avenues that reach your customer base.
In print advertising and with eblast services, check their circulation and ask about their reader demographics, then utilize those publications and services whose content aligns with your products and your company philosophy.
In all your marketing, always make sure that your materials are well designed, well branded and convey a consistent, high-quality message. Hiring a professional photographer who can capture the best your cattle have to offer is worth every penny. Hiring a professional designer who can visually convey your message in print and online is money very well spent and can be leveraged over time. Making sure that your messages are well written, and that spelling and punctuation are correct sends a message of quality and attention to detail that cannot be overlooked.
Last, have a plan and budget in your outbound marketing that meets your goals and takes advantage of your resources of time, talent and money, but does not exceed them. The last thing you want is for your marketing to cost more than you gain in sales.
BluePrint Media has the talent and knowledge to help you with your outbound marketing needs. Click this link to see how we can help!
Lisa has been involved in agriculture, communications, non-profits and publishing her entire life. Raised on a commercial and seedstock cattle operation in northern Arizona, she came to Colorado for college and never left, raising her family there. Her diverse experiences lead to capabilities in management, communications, design, administration and marketing. Learn more about Lisa.