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With the evolution of the Internet, it has been argued that consumers suffer from information overload. But on the other hand, buyers now have more choices than ever before. And in a consumer's eyes, choice is good.

Just look at the popularity of insurance agent Progressive, whose commercials promise "the prices of Progressive, plus the prices of other big-name competitors." Many other companies have begun to follow suit in giving consumers the big picture, rather than just a sales pitch.

Tommy Jones, manager of marketing, Agricultural Financial Services, John Deere Credit
In the agricultural sector, John Deere Credit is bringing that same array of choice to retailers and farmers. "John Deere Credit is introducing a new era in input financing for 2004," says Tommy Jones, manager of marketing for Agricultural Financial Services at John Deere Credit. "Sales finance is still a relatively new concept to the input market, and there is often a lack of knowledge about all the incentive programs out there." To increase awareness, John Deere Credit is launching AgPrograms.comTM. The site is a key component of Input Finance from John Deere Credit and Farm PlanTM, a new initiative that is linking manufacturers, merchants and customers like never before.
"Our goal with is to be the go-to resource for all sales finance programs," says Jones.

The site allows ag input manufacturers to list the various sales and input finance programs they offer. John Deere Credit compiles this information, making it easy for retailers to find programs that meet the needs of their customers. also takes the headache out of sales finance by allowing retailers to handle the entire transaction online. Customers will find using their Input Finance credit limits easy since purchases are captured on their Farm Plan Preferred Agricultural Accounts.

For retailers, the site could not be easier to use. They first complete a brief registration process that establishes their username and password and allows them to tailor the site to meet their needs. Each subsequent time they visit, only those programs that apply to the products they sell will appear.

Once registered, they are able to take advantage of all the features of the site. They can view details of manufacturer-sponsored finance programs, look up pre-approved growers and complete transactions online.

The site also offers shortcuts designed for retailers' busy schedules. "We know that many retailers do not sit down with each customer to make elaborate crop plans for the season," Jones says. " offers QuickPlan, which allows retailers to search for multiple finance programs at one time to cover all customer needs." is currently being offered at no cost to retailers to build awareness and support for Input Finance from John Deere Credit.

"Manufacturer-sponsored finance programs are not new in the area of input financing, but we are the first and only company to bring them together in one site for the retailer," says Jones.

Designed for retailers, is not being directly promoted to growers. "But we have not left the customer out of the process," says Jones. "We have planned our marketing efforts in such a way that will persuade growers to visit their local retailers."

To get the word out to retailers, John Deere Credit is launching an integrated marketing campaign, including direct mail, public relations and print advertisements.

John Deere Credit will also mail notices to select producers throughout the United States, letting them know that they have been preapproved for Farm Plan Input Finance credit limits up to $50,000. "We encourage them to visit their local retailers to find out what programs are available and to activate their accounts," says Jones. "Later on, as new manufacturer programs are added to the site, we will do joint mailings to targeted customers to inform them of the new offers and once again encourage them to talk to their retailers."

John Deere Credit has great hopes for this new Input Finance initiative and what will do to support it. "We believe this is truly a value-added service for retailers and ultimately for customers," says Jones. "But it can only be useful if it's used. Our goals right now are to build awareness for all the programs out there and to encourage more manufacturers to make their information easily available to retailers." AM

AgPrograms is a trademark of Deere & Co.

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