Exponent Public Relations won both Silver and Bronze Anvils for its work helping to put an updated and local face on DuPont Crop Protection (DCP) and expand the effects of crop protection.
DCP was increasing its team to help solve local crop production problems by working closely with farmers, crop consultants and seed sellers. In a highly competitive marketplace with a relatively small market share, DCP needed to leverage its local knowledge to increase its share of voice, help farmers and land managers, and increase sales.
Focus group discussions showed that key audiences had limited awareness of local DCP experts, were slow to recognize new products and technologies, felt the need for individual solutions, and wanted to create relationships with company experts to help them.
Communication objectives included increasing awareness of DCP and leverage local DCP presence to provide information, while business objectives included increasing sales of DCP products in targeted geographies.
Strategies included leveraging media, local Dupont voices and third-party influencers, and engaging individual customers in new ways to demonstrate collaboration, customization and innovation.
Marketing and sales teams were trained on communicating DuPont messaging, and an aggressive media relations campaign was implemented to increase the local DCP presence among key audiences.
- An advertorial series in key trade media.
- Newsmaker surveys were conducted at industry trade shows and results were shared with appropriate industry segments. Local DCP experts were also showcased at trade shows.
- Exclusive feature stories were developed for trade media on regional pest concerns.
- Exponent scoured trade media editorial calendars and provided local and regional DCP resources to assist with editorial content development.
- Weather and crop news was closely monitored throughout the year.
To engage customers with local content, Exponent worked with a leading media outlet on a web-based- plus-broadcast program that showcased local DCP agronomists as they submitted daily audio and video reports on crop progress from planting to harvest. The reports were collected in a searchable website, promoted on a major agricultural radio network website, shared through twice-daily spots on more than 300 radio stations, and linked to and from the DCP website.
DCP hosted plot tours showcasing new products, and videos of the events were made available to regional sales people. A series of disease and weed diagnostic videos were also added to the website and shown at local trade shows. A virtual field tour was also created for the DCP website with 31 videos, hosted by a DCP expert.
Localized, e-newsletters were sent from DCP representatives for each area, providing timely advice and easy access to additional information, and pest alerts were sent to help farmers and land managers to anticipate and spot issues that would reduce productivity or yield.
Exponent also helped raise awareness of new products and their benefits for target audiences.
To help supplement the campaign, which led to its Bronze Anvil win, Exponent used Adobe Acrobat to create a PDF that offered much of the same interactivity as an app, including touch-based navigation, expandable content and a clean interface – at a fraction of the cost of developing an actual mobile app.
A list of necessary features was outlined, including compelling visuals, expandable content, third-party scientific data, regional focus, touch-based navigation, disease scouting help and unbiased management recommendations. Meeting the needs of each sales representative at any time also involved tailoring content by location. Exponent developed five regional versions with local data and information.
As its Silver Anvil and Bronze Anvil wins would demonstrate, the campaign was a big success:
- Media relations efforts resulted in 139.2 million trade media impressions in 2014.
- DuPont Field Reports delivered more than 4,000 unique visitors; 39% returned to the site, spending nearly 6 minutes per visit.
- e-news- letters had an average open rate nearly double the industry benchmark and a click-through rate three times the industry standard.
- Other e-newsletters also significantly exceeded industry benchmarks, with open rates from 39% to 42% and click- through rates up to 7%.
- Alerts had open rates 183% better than the industry benchmark and consistently sent readers to additional video content on the DuPont website with click-through rates nearly double the benchmark.
- In 2014, despite an annual drop in overall sales by most crop protection companies, DuPont grains fungicide sales were 141% over the previous year and key herbicide sales averaged 134% better than the previous year. This was on top of a remarkable 46% increase in sales in 2013 in areas where localized sales communications were deployed.
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