Case Study: Ag Leader Insights Magazine

Back in the early 1990s, a time before people knew how much technology would change their lives, a young engineer tinkered in his garage with a vision.

 

Al Myers worked on prototype after prototype until he designed the first commercially-successful yield monitor, an invention that would jump start the era of precision agriculture and improve the lives of farmers around the world. That’s how Ag Leader began.

 

Now more than 25 years later, the company continues to be a leader in the precision ag industry with a team of employees who are continually working to innovate, create and solve farmers’ problems with new products and technologies.

 

The Situation

 

We’re lucky to work with this brand — Lessing-Flynn is proud to be an Ag Leader partner going on more than a decade. In the beginning, ag tech was new, and our challenge was to market their products to an audience of early adopters on the farm. Back then, we knew that most farmers read agricultural magazines as their primary source for industry information (this is still accurate today), but no matter the coverage opportunities, Ag Leader continued to see miscommunication of their precision tech benefits.

 

Through targeted research, Lessing-Flynn discovered most agriculture publications didn’t have devoted technology editors on full-time staff. Ag tech was evolving so quickly, and there was a gap in providing farmers with up-to-date, practical information on the benefits of precision technology products. As a solution, Ag Leader Insights magazine was launched in 2012 to educate all audiences — growers, dealers, industry editors and more.

 

Fast forward six years to 2018, precision ag has become more widespread, and more folks are up to speed and paying attention to the evolution of technology on the farm. We decided it was time to revisit the goal of the publication and redefine the strategy.

 

The Solution

 

Each audience that we previously targeted has evolved and now has different needs. One publication doesn’t speak to all of them. Our first step was to work with Ag Leader on an audience identification exercise to narrow our target.

 

When we met, we filled a conference room with white boards, our creative team and snacks (our first winning strategy). We started by dividing our audience list into primary, secondary and tertiary groups. Using research to guide our discussion, we landed on a primary audience and key demographics. Next up, we developed a persona by talking through each stage of the buyer’s journey considering their thoughts, concerns, problems and feelings along the way.

 

By the end of the exercise, each of us could clearly envision our target. We decided to call him “Todd,” and that made him tangible. Then we connected Todd to Ag Leader’s goal – to improve the lives of farmers around the world – and answered the following questions from a marketing and communications perspective.

 

Q: How can we improve Todd’s life on the farm?
A: Fuel ideas that empower him to improve efficiencies and increase revenue.

Q: How do we do that?
A: Tell the story of what life on the farm looks like when growers incrementally add new technologies, analyze data and make informed decisions that change how they manage their operation.

 

With our audience defined and strategy outlined, our incredible creative team refreshed the design of the publication and identified department sections with dedicated topics for each edition. We now kick off each edition with a brainstorm about stories we should tell Todd to help him through the upcoming season on the farm.

 

New Ag Leader Insights magazine objectives:

  • Tell the story of what life looks like for farmers like Todd who adopt precision agriculture technologies.
  • Educate Todd and tech-savvy growers about Ag Leader’s technology and products.
  • Position Ag Leader and its key product/sales team members as industry thought leaders and differentiate the brand from competitors.
  • Market a large number of products to a targeted audience of technology-adopting growers around the globe compared to single-page print ads.

 

The Results

 

Ag Leader Insights magazine is a successful, industry-exclusive precision farming publication. Its print audience has grown to more than 28,000 since the initial launch and the digital publications received more than 2,000 views in 2017. Using a strategic editorial calendar, smart copywriting and unique design, this publication allows Ag Leader to reach “Todd” and similar growers in a way that has not been done before. Today, Ag Leader deems this publication one of their most powerful and effective marketing tools and attributes the feature article copywriting by Lessing-Flynn to much of its success.

 

>> View the most recent issue of Ag Leader Insights!

 

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