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TAKE YOUR FARMER PROSPECTS ON A "VIRTUAL TOUR"
Ag producers used to enjoy touring field trials and livestock operations, but are finding it increasingly difficult to get away. So, if you can't get them on your tour, take the tour on CD. Farmers are increasingly using their computers and the Internet for product research and program comparisons. Bring your marketing information to them.

Opportunity: Lely was looking for an innovative way to speed up the introduction of their robotic milkers in Canada.

Solution: "Virtual Tours" were developed by Dog & Pony Productions Inc., St. Thomas, ON, and proved to be a great way to get information to the dairymen audience where broadband is relatively scarce.

Dog and Pony President Bob McNaughton says, "The first Virtual Tours were done in dairy barns. Several series of images were collected and programmed to produce virtual tours in new and older dairy barns of various designs and sizes."

Dairy producers were interviewed and recorded on video answering questions regarding robotic milkers. "The video testimonials proved to be a lot more effective than written testimonials," reports Talo Tamminga, General Manager for Lely Canada.

"Dog & Pony put all this on a CD with auto play and it was very easy to use," Tamminga explains. "Our clients have a lot of useful information both from a typical brochure perspective as well as the video testimonials and 360 virtual tours. It saved some of our clients traveling eight hours to see some of our robot farms and they can do it from the comfort of their own home."

English and French CDs were distributed to farmer prospects through farm publications, by direct mail and as handouts at trade shows.

"We have had a lot of positive response back from the marketplace," Tamminga says. "It did exactly what we were looking for, bringing the success that we've had to date into the marketplace rather than wait a year to filter it through the normal marketing channels."

Then Virtual Tours moved out into the field.

Opportunity: BASF was looking for a compelling way to demonstrate their year old CLEARFIELD canola system and their new CLEARFIELD wheat system. Seed treatment and fungicide market managers also wanted exposure for their brands. "If you can't get the growers to your field tour, take the field tour to your growers," says Deneen Sebastian of BASF.

Solution: McNaughton reports, "We traveled to several field plot locations across Western Canada to collect still photos of a variety of crops, weeds and diseases at regular intervals throughout the season. Several series of images were collected and programmed to produce virtual tours at subsequent crop stages. Still images were also programmed onto a CD to highlight specific weeds, diseases and treatment results." 

Brand information, including short copy, charts and graphs, was added to the photographs and virtual tours. Growers were interviewed on video after harvest to collect their feedback on the brands. "We were impressed by how these testimonials were so inspiring and motivating. The growers were very positive," Sebastian says.

The interactive CDs were distributed to retailers and key growers. In the comfort of their office, they could zoom in and out and pan across virtual tours, review still image comparisons, brand data and feedback on video from other farmers. The CDs provided a consistent and comprehensive message to help train sales staff and retailers and get the message out to key producers.

Virtual Tours can save time and travel to view field trials and livestock operations; get your message to retailers and farmers; provide a visual history over time; direct comparisons; and give an "instant" feel for surroundings and let your audience view restricted areas.

For more Virtual Tours information and samples, go to www.dogandpony.ca.


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