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Exhibiting at farm shows is a vital component of most companies’ sales and marketing efforts. From handing out product literature to enhancing brand image, companies depend on exposure at farm shows to move the market share needle. In fact, the one-on-one interaction with growers as they stroll through the exhibit is a marketer’s dream come true - at least for a day or two until the farm show ends.

In February, the doors opened to a different kind of farm show - one that never closes. Growers can experience a farm show 24 hours a day, seven days a week at the Progressive Farmer Virtual Farm Show. "With time demands on the rise among farmers and their families, the Virtual Farm Show offers them a venue open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for comparing manufacturers and their products," says Darcie Plowden, marketing manager for Progressive Farmer. Phase One of the Virtual Farm Show features equipment, automobiles and ATVs, with other categories coming online in future phases.


"That means growers have access to the Virtual Farm Show when they have the time and need for product information - instead of once a year for a few hours when they visit a farm show," Plowden says. By simply logging onto, growers can search through the extensive company and product lists of the Virtual Farm Show to compare everything from tire size to horsepower to lift capacity before purchasing new equipment.

"Traffic to the online show has been steady, and we’re pleased with the positive feedback from visitors to the site," Plowden reports. "They’ve been e-mailing us saying the information is helpful and the site is easy to use."


As with traditional farm shows, companies can purchase "exhibit" space at the Virtual Farm Show in the form of a jump page featuring product specifications. Not only can participating companies list product features and include images on their special jump page, but they can also activate a hyperlink back to their Web site. At $6,000 per year per category, the Virtual Farm Show is priced efficiently for both small and large companies.

Companies participating with the Virtual Farm Show can also update and manage their product information thanks to the password-protected self-management system. "Advertisers don‘t have to wait for the site to be updated," Plowden says. "These companies have the flexibility to change their product information and images as they need to - it’s a great way to keep the site fresh and inviting to visitors."


"The Virtual Farm Show has been designed to complement real-life farm shows," Plowden says. "It provides many of the same benefits to the consumers and exhibiting companies all year long in a convenient, easy-to-use environment.

"Of course, an added benefit of the Virtual Farm Show is that it drives traffic - interested, potential buyers - to the Web sites of our participating companies through the hyperlinks," Plowden adds.

Marketing the Virtual Farm Show has been a priority since the launch in February. In addition to editorial coverage in the magazine, Progressive Farmer has created advertising, direct mail and public relations campaigns directed at its 1.4 million readers, along with an exhibit that travels to the different farm shows. AM

Misty McKinney is promotion coordinator with Progressive Farmer at the magazine’s headquarters in Birmingham, Ala.

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