by Cattle Solutions Owners Kyle & Crystal Devoll

Marketing. This is certainly a broad topic and one that needs to be studied and thought about in order to be successful in the cattle business and in most endeavors. For the purpose of this article, I will focus on marketing through advertising and the use of new technologies.

Unfortunately, most breeders in the registered cattle business do not begin to think about marketing until they are two or three years into their program. Even then, they think that marketing will consist of running a few ads occasionally and letting other breeders and commercial customers know that they have genetics for sale. Our company works with breeders every day, developing a plan that will not just tell folks about the products – cattle, semen and embryos – that you have for sale, but to, also, tell your story. Each ranch is unique. Each owner has their own reason for why they first got into the registered cattle business, and each ranch has its own unique path for what they are producing and why they think it will help to benefit the overall cattle industry. This is important information for your potential customer to have.

The most common response I hear from producers when we start discussions about advertising is, “I don’t have anything to sell yet; why would I start advertising now?” My response is always, “If you wait until you have something to sell it is too late.”

In our company we use lots of Apple products, and I have read several books about Apple as a company and a brand. I have always been impressed with the simplicity of their products and marketing and how affective and successful they are. When they are introducing a new phone or product line, they do not wait until the item is in the stores to start telling their potential customers about what they will be selling. No, they start months, or maybe a year or more, in advance putting out well-organized information and teasers intriguing their customers and building excitement about their new item. This all culminates into the big unveiling where people camp out in line, eager to finally catch a glimpse of this new product, and then take it home and put into use in their life. This same marketing strategy should be implemented in the seedstock cattle business. Understandably, there are few ranches that will ever have the resources that Apple or some other large corporation will have but the same principles can be applied. By using these principles and incorporating the technologies of today, your cattle operation can put together a very effective marketing plan.

We now live in a world where vast amounts of technology are at our fingertips. Because of all of this technology and instant gratification, we are always asked if print media is dead. My quick answer is no. The more expanded answer is that what we now have the capability to produce a blending of “old school” print media and the technology of today. There will always be a portion of your customer base that wants to hold a magazine in their hands and flip through the pages while they are sitting in their favorite chair and relaxing after a long day at work. This may not be how you enjoy seeing your favorite cattle publication or sale catalog, but you cannot forget this is still an essential part of how you will market your program.

You have already seen, for several years, how progressive operations have incorporated a basic “flip book” technology into their sale catalog marketing. As I know most of you are aware, this technology allows your print sale catalog to be uploaded to the world wide web and the end viewer can flip through the book on their computer just as if they were holding it in front of them. That has been a great use of technology, but our company always felt like there was something lacking. Over the past 18 months, we have been working with others to improve upon this technology. What about those customers that want to see more, learn more about your operation or the cattle that you are selling in your upcoming sale? There is now a solution to giving your customers more information without having to print more pages in your sale catalog or advertising piece.

We have been offering an option to our customers that we call an interactive catalog. We can now embed vast amounts of information directly into the web version of your sale catalog or advertising piece. The animal’s video can be embedded directly into the catalog. There is no longer a need to flip back and forth between websites to look at videos. Keep that customer on your page and keep them on track with looking at only your sale information. Embedding videos is just the beginning. What if you are selling a set of elite donor females and you wish to provide your customers with more information? You now can! You can embed flush histories or pictures of progeny or videos of progeny. All of these pictures and records could never be printed in a traditional sale catalog because of cost – cost of printing additional pages and cost of mailing a heavier book. Now you have the ability to give your customers more. Suppose you are selling a set of bulls that is the highest scanning and performing set of bulls you have ever sold. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to show and tell your customer, directly in your words, why you think this is the best set of cattle and how the data supports that claim? Well now you can. These are just a few select ideas on how this technology advances your marketing.

We are all customers of someone, and we collectively consume thousands of products daily. Which products do we migrate toward? We migrate to the products that make us feel a part of their process – their family – if you will. It is just human nature to do business with folks that you feel you know and can trust. By strategically planning how, where and when you will market your seedstock operation, you can build that same brand confidence and loyalty.

Of course this is just a small piece of the overall marketing discussion, and I could go on for pages about branding your ranch, social media, cattle presentation, and much more. If you have any questions, feel to contact us and someone from our team at Cattle Solutions will be happy to visit more in depth with you.