It was a record-setting year for Boot Camp—attendance reached the highest level in NAMA history!
Conversations were lively and attendees not only learned from panelists and presenters, but from each other as well. An opening keynote session on networking encouraged Boot Campers to make the effort to get to know new people and expand their networks.
Dan Greers of the Scoular Company had this to say about his first time at Boot Camp:
“I really enjoyed Boot Camp. Even though my dad grew up on a farm, I was a city kid, so being able to hear from many different agricultural aspects–dairy cows, hogs, row crop farming–really helped fill in the gaps and gave me a better understanding of the whole industry.”
The famous Boot Camp panels ranged from producers and growers sharing their thoughts on communication and marketing preferences to seasoned agri-marketers’ words of career wisdom. A “generations” panel also discussed the challenges and rewards of working on a family farm. (Visit YouTube to see how panel members work across generations in this excerpt from the generations panel.)
Producers on the panel emphasized how smart phones and texting make their lives easier. Especially when it comes to immediate access of market information and legislation updates. But they also stressed that well-timed direct mail, smart premiums and local testimonials in traditional advertising still work.
The generations panel shared lessons learned and each speaker agreed it’s important to let the next generation bear their own financial risk and be given the freedom to make–and learn–from mistakes.
A constant thread throughout the entire two-day conference was the need for farmers and those within the industry to tell the real story of American agriculture. Sessions on social media, building customer relationships and consumers’ true perceptions of technology in ag shared some great ideas for how to get those conversations started.
Randa Zalman, Online Strategist, Sr. Account Supervisor for Redstone gave tips for “Making Social Media Simple.” Randa emphasized the benefit of social media is ROR–return on relationships, and urged not to get too caught up in ROI. She shared excellent strategies for pitching a social media plan and other ideas for overcoming internal objections to adding social media to more traditional marketing plans.
Left Field Creative’s brand whiz, Bill Shelton led the charge for “Creating Lasting Emotional Bonds With Your Customers” in his fast-paced presentation. Making good on the claim that he could “take one look at you and tell what kind of beer you drink,” Bill explained how to use emotional triggers and positioning statements to make brands stand out and gain loyal followers.
Another take-away from this year’s Boot Camp is that a magic marketing bullet doesn’t exist. Agri-marketers need to test and ask questions to land on the right mix of face-to-face contact, direct marketing, radio and digital.
Check out NAMA’s Flickr page for photos.