Two seconds. That’s how long it takes for us to make a first impression. Attendees at the opening session of the 2009 NAMA Boot Camp listened intently as Dr. Jennifer K. Martin, Hall Family Foundation Professor, University of Missouri-Kansas City, shared tips to help them master body language and become more effective public speakers. Earlier in the day, Boot Camp started bright and early with the traditional MoKan Ag Tour.
It was obvious Boot Camp made an excellent first impression on the agri-marketing professionals who loved the networking and the candid panel sessions. (Or maybe they loved the keepsake pork chops they got on the Ag Tour. Yes. Every person really took home a pork chop.) Most likely, it was the face-to-face contact with thoughtful representatives of their key end markets.
“Who better to learn about agriculture than from the men and women who live it every day? Each producer and retailer had an abundance of knowledge to share, and I appreciate how open they were with us about the intricacies of their businesses,” shared Megan Sheridan, Marketing Manager for the Center for Food and Agricultural Business, Purdue University. “Some business owners wouldn’t have been so forthcoming.”
Panelists mingled with attendees in between sessions and attended the social hour hosted at Kansas City’s famous Boulevard Brewing Company. One-on-one Q&A sessions and invaluable opportunities to hear feedback “straight from the horse’s mouth” were high on the list of valuable take-aways from Boot Camp.
“I found the panel of farmers the most beneficial,” said Diane Kleer, VP Production/Group Publisher of Annex Publishing & Printing Inc. in Ontario, Canada. “I gained a deeper understanding of how a cash crop farmer operates. Even more beneficial was the networking session afterwards at the Brewery, as I had an opportunity to further talk with the farmers.”
Sessions on social marketing, pitching to the ag media and client management rounded out the breakout sessions. NAMA makes sure every effort is made to cater to the needs of each niche in the agri-marketing universe.
“The panels are a mainstay every year—people demand the producer and retail panels,” Shared Jenny Pickett, NAMA Executive Vice President/CEO. “But we mix it up from year to year so the programming stays fresh and we evolve with the market. We want to help agri-marketers do their jobs better.”
Boot Camp wrapped up with the ag retail panel and a closing session from John January, Sullivan Higdon & Sink, and Tug McTighe, Callahan Creek,
on Jedi Marketing. Inspirational, reassuring and hilarious—the perfect end to the NAMA Boot Camp.