Amy Miles, Account Director, Rooster Strategic Solutions

Developed with technology from Verdesian Life Sciences, SEED+ GRAPHITE is a nutritional planter box solution that improves germination, crop emergence, seedling vigor, and plant tolerance to abiotic stressors, leading to a 10-percent yield increase on average compared to untreated crops. And, like a long list of ag technology products, it’s the kind of solution that screams for an in-field demonstration to prove its worth to a skeptical farmer audience.

That was the challenge that Verdesian presented: How best to get farmers to witness a side-by-side test of SEED+ GRAPHITE? And because Verdesian is comfortable telling their story, it may serve as a test case for other ag companies.

Seeing is believing. The answer was a campaign built around unique test kits that gave farmers everything they needed to conduct side-by-side tests between SEED+ and an untreated corn seed on a desk, windowsill, or kitchen table. A dedicated landing page provided a simple way to order additional kits, share experiences, and follow others who were using the kits. Introductory and follow-up e-mails helped reinforce the tests and create a sense of urgency. Social media, including the use of social influencers, and other organic social media tactics, included real-time, countertop trials being done by farmers.

The results speak for themselves. The kits, which included corn seed, petri dishes, forceps, distilled water, a syringe, and product instructions were mailed to several thousand corn and soybean growers. Recipients were urged to submit photos and results over the 14-day trial period; three percent of the growers responded by submitting photo results of their trials, well above the .5- to 2-percent return rate that’s average for direct mail campaigns. More importantly, this response equates to nearly 3,000 days in which prospects spent interacting with the product – and encouraging other farmers to get involved. This led to a request for more than 300 additional kits.

These kits were thoughtfully produced with little expense spared, and their promotion was a multi-channel calculated effort – but it worked. Sales figures are confidential, of course, but were considerably higher year-over-year, easily justifying the investment.

Social influence can be a powerful tool to drive farmer leads. One truly interesting aspect of the campaign was the effectiveness of several handpicked social media influencers. This included one Illinois farmer whose background in seed treating brought a high level of authenticity and credibility to the campaign. Through the creation of 37 pieces of social video content, this one influencer generated nearly 100,000 views of kit-related content as well as 75 additional kits requested by farmers after viewing this content.

Bottom line? A campaign designed to encourage farmer-users to trial/experience a product or service firsthand and at scale is a tremendous way to highlight ag technology.

And how did the kits perform for farmers? “Probably twice as much early seedling development in the test sample as the control,” said one grower from Illinois. “In scientific terms, it kicked butt!” Our sentiments exactly.

If you have questions about designing campaigns to support the trial or adoption of a new product or service for farmers, I’d love to have a conversation.