Q+A with Josh Turney, Founder, Rooster Strategic Solutions
Q: I’ve heard Rooster described as an “Ag Agency” and an “Ag Consultancy.” Which are you?
A: I like to think of us as a “yes, and” business. We’re a company, that has all the resources you’d expect from an agency partner, such as a robust creative department, account management, public relations, digital and what I believe is the best media group in the business. And we have some clients for whom we provide ongoing support, similar to an agency of record relationship. But we don’t restrict ourselves to traditional agency deliverables. Our product is problem-solving, which means we help our clients turn problems into opportunities. We’re willing and able to help clients break down silos and overcome business and customer problems across their organizations. Sometimes, when the client is satisfied with the initial results, that means our work together is complete because we’ve solved it together. Other times, it means that we help clients address a next problem or a new set of challenges. The basis of our client relationships is less about working only a certain way or with specific mediums or channels, and more about helping clients figure out how to make a bigger impact for their business. That requires flexibility and adaptability on our part to best support them.
Q: You also stress your ties to agriculture. Why is that important?
JT: Our philosophy has always been that experience matters to our clients, most of whom are agribusinesses. Simply put, ag is in our DNA. I mean, take a look at our employees. We’ve all either grown up on farms or worked for or with leading brands across many segments of our industry, from equipment and agronomics to animal health and ag tech. And most of us can measure our ag experience in decades. So, if you’re an ag company, you don’t have to spend time familiarizing us with how you go to market or how your customers operate. We get it. It’s our passion. It’s where we’ve decided to put our stake in the ground.
Q: So, who is the typical Rooster client?
JT: We work with Fortune 500 companies as well as local firms with fewer than 10 employees. Most of our clients are in agribusiness or related industries. I guess the two things that all our clients have in common is that they understand that there’s a part of their business that they need to improve, and they value hands-on experience. A lot of our team has been on the client side and in their shoes – we can relate. Most of our clients – in fact the majority – reached out to us because they had a previous relationship with one of our staff. Our clients hire us for the same reason you’d hire a seasoned craftsman.
Q: Craftsman? Really?
JT (Laughing): Ok, how about specialists? Seriously, we can offer clients the most experienced network of problem-solvers in agriculture. And this goes above and beyond what a traditional agency might provide, or what a typical consultant might suggest. Sales operations consulting, marketing technology evaluations, marketing program management, segmentation strategy, customer data strategies, market research, brand health, assessments on agronomic services – we have the experience and expertise to help our clients solve specific problems across a wide spectrum of issues. And in the rare cases that we don’t have the right people on staff, we’re not afraid to partner with the many outside collaborators we know and trust to help.
Q: Outside collaborators? Can you give me an example?
JT: Sure. Last year, one of the things that we kept hearing from clients was that digital was moving faster than they could. And the more we looked into it, we saw there was a definitely a knowledge gap out there. So, we put together AMiDA (Ag Marketing in the Digital Age), a conference designed to help educate agribusinesses on all things digital. We have some incredible minds on our staff, but we don’t limit good ideas and methods only to what we’ve accomplished. So, we reached out to some experts from the ad tech space, as well as media companies and agencies to share what they’re experiencing, too. This is a pretty relational business, right? It really shouldn’t matter if we can potentially support the same agribusiness, as long as we’re providing valuable intelligence and experience to help their businesses improve. But it’s not very common for a company to share the spotlight with direct competitors, even to benefit their clients.
Q: What other benefits can Rooster provide that a traditional agency can’t?
JT: It’s not that we provide solutions that agencies can’t, it’s that we believe in supporting clients in ways that many agencies or consultancies don’t, or won’t — and that some intelligence and expertise should be available even to those agribusinesses who would not otherwise be able to leverage this insight on their own. Here’s another example. A couple of our clients wanted to improve their websites but were having trouble evaluating what they had compared to others. James Arnold, our Chief Digital Officer, started pulling metrics on 30-plus different ag websites to give clients an unbiased, apples-to-apples comparison. Here’s the funny part – the third-party data we analyzed for this report is public information that anybody can access and review, but as far as we’re aware, Rooster is the only company that has. James also brings 25-plus years of ag digital expertise to the table, so he was able to include some analysis that few others can match. It proved to be so popular with these clients that we decided to give it away for free. We believe there is shared value in making our findings and the methods for gathering them available to anybody who’s interested. The industry changes almost daily, and our team works to capture these changes and note their potential impact to farmers, marketers, brands, and businesses.
Q: Last question, why did you name the company Rooster?
JT: Ok, that’s a good question! Like a lot of us on staff, I grew up on a farm, and the rooster has always had a pivotal role in getting the day started. I’ve always loved that mentality. Get up! Let’s go solve some problems!
Q: Thanks Josh.
JT: Thank you!