Episode Summary:

Trevor Gies is a Senior Marketing Manager at Cobb-Vantress. Established in 1916, Cobb is the world’s oldest pedigree broiler breeding company.  Trevor had his start in the agency world, and Sport Marketing which eventually led him down a different path with Cobb in the Poultry Industry.  We discuss his journey., his time with Cobb and how Sport Marketing is different. We broach topics like dealing with change and leadership, and his experience  with that which has helped him thrive. We discuss everything AG Marketing from how it will evolve in the coming years,  parallels from the agency and corporate world. Trevor engages with us in Rapid fire questions and finishes talking about his philosophy/strategy for Agriculture Marketing along with his three key points to follow for success in Agriculture Marketing. Marketing 101 with Trevor Gies!

About Trevor Gies

As Senior Marketing Manager for North America, Trevor Gies provides strategic and integrated direction and leadership for Cobb marketing and communications. With over a decade of experience, he is responsible for helping create and implement omni-channel campaigns, driving brand awareness and product performance, as well as corporate initiatives (internally and externally). He is passionate about servant leadership and looking for ways to help others develop and succeed. Budget planning, market intelligence, performance reporting/analytics, advertising, digital media, PR and events/meetings are just a few of the areas that his team is responsible for.

Trevor has worked at Cobb for seven years and began in 2015 as an Associate Marketing Manager.

Before joining Cobb, he worked at Marlin Company, a full-service foodservice marketing agency. Trevor began his career at Marlin as an Account Service intern in 2010 and grew in the company to become a Senior Account Executive working on large national and international clientele including Tyson Foods, Starbucks and Bush Beans to name a few.

Trevor received his Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Marketing and Management from Evangel University and is married to his high school sweetheart, Mackenzie. They are active in their church and local community and have three beautiful children.

The pandemic and other uncertainties made the journey to 2022 a tough one. I hope over the holiday season you have had time with your family, but also to refresh, recharge and reflect about technology and business.  As I took a step back from my typical daily routine, I had the opportunity to really put my thoughts together. The terms and thought that kept popping up in my head were “Brand Affiliation Partnership” and “Brand Affinity.”  With these terms I am referencing effective marketing in the sense of how a company commits to a strategy including Online Marketing and Story Telling. You can find my thoughts on the subject in previous article: https://agricultureadvertising.com/the-eadffective-approach-to-agriculture-marketing-strategy-by-jim-eadie/

If a company commits to this approach, and links themselves with another successful brand, they leverage a media position by consistently being affiliated with success.  Through using Brand Affiliation to leverage marketing tools such as Story Telling, Brand Building, etc, you can standout and shine in front of your target audience.

When you are affiliated with another brand you must take advantage of more than just placing an ad beside theirs. You want your customers to feel they have joined a special club, that includes both your brand and your affiliated partner’s brand. In order to create a relationship that adds value to both brands, you must try new things.  Understand the affiliation is with the Media Source directly, which is a powerful connection to the end-user (potential customers) with a constant and reliable communication tool.

According to an article on smallbizgenius.net, it takes between 5-7 impressions to even being to create brand awareness. Consistency is everything! When creating content for your brand’s social media channels, make sure to repeatedly emphasize your brand’s message. I see a lot of “shotgun” approaches hoping for instant credibility, which some marketers feel works by creating a knee-jerk reaction. I disagree with that approach because in business there are many ups and downs and peaks and valleys. If you a short window of communication typical in a shotgun approach, you will not gain the attention of your audience long enough nor make enough impressions to truly cause them to evaluate your brand or resonate with them.  You must have the patience to build trust and strategically construct the affiliation wheel (you only use affiliation wheel once, what is it?).

A great example of a Brand Affiliation Partnership is the wonderful working relationship and affiliation build between Swineweb.com and Genesus Genetics. For over 15 years Genesus has executed a flawless marketing strategy including a famous commentary from Jim Long. Jim Long gives a weekly commentary, monthly global market report, technical details, and gives his readers a true competitive edge.  Genesus Genetics defined their strategy to consistently showcase their investment in marketing and great content. They looked for strong defined partners to build credibility and enhance the profile (including Swineweb.com and others) as they continued to expand and build their brand in the Swine Industry. They ensured consistent coverage through being affiliated in key markets where their customers were. What a great Brand Affiliation Partnership for Swineweb.com!

With digital coverage you can reach a customer at any time; this concept has helped Genesus grow their business. There is not a report to tell you the exact amount of sales linked directly to your marketing plan, but the business growth and strategy you gain by being defined and being affiliated has can lead to a tremendous market share. Swineweb.com’s approach has been similar to Genesus, we have evolved and expanded recently through a Daily Newsletter with 25,000 subscribers.  This method of constant affiliation in front of customers is ideal, it is almost as if you have a storefront or billboard and people drive by and see your sign every day. This type of consistent and credible approach is similar to marketing in a local region or small town, but you reach all over the world! This type of strategy worked for Genesus because they have built a great brand and shared their content and message directly to their customers on platforms such as Swineweb.com.  This strategy also creates double coverage through brand exposure in multiple companies marketing campaigns. You can never have enough coverage! Newsletter marketing is precise because it showcases all industry happenings, live, with great detail, directly to your customers. This is what gives you the consistent and multiple impressions required.

Brand affiliation on a targeted platform is more strategic than Facebook ads. Here is the simple reason: people go on Facebook to connect with their friends and family and to view their interests, 99.9% of people on the platform are probably not looking for brands within your industry. Using Facebook, you could target a demographic and likely grow Likes (What is a Like worth to you?). It is hard to stand out in the clutter or zone in specifically on your potential customers. You are wasting your valuable marketing dollars. However, it is proven customers go to Swineweb.com to view stories and trends, subscribe to the newsletter, and that the community is LASER focused to enhance your impressions more so than a broad Facebook approach. By having a well-known brand specializing within the industry you are targeting, you are speaking directly to your potential customer base. You can spend your valuable marketing dollars aimed directly at your potential customers, not throwing them out in a shotgun approach in a cluttered social media channel used by everyone.

This does not just apply to Agriculture Marketing, let’s look at an example of a fictional Canoe company:

Assume there is a Phone App called CanoeApp that a canoe distribution company wants to use to position their brand. CanoeApp also has many reasons for their community to want to use it daily. It gives up-to-date water and weather conditions, maps to great canoeing spots, and a place for great canoe related discussions. CanoeApp is a great brand that provides a useful service. Its users feel like they are part of the club.  The canoe company know that they cannot directly track sales resulting from their marketing plan, but they know their customer base uses and loves CanoeApp. By associating with CanoeApp, they can leverage many means to make an impression through articles, emails, text messages, and by just having their brand showcased on the platform. Having their brand affiliated with CanoeApp will create more of a connection because their audience will see their brand as affiliated with a source they love, which builds a different connection than direct marketing. It is double coverage! It is a better use of their marketing dollar than a Social Media post to people in a city that have listed “Canoeing” as a hobby when they made their profile many years ago.

Half the battle is getting targeted exposure. If you strategize with a Brand Affiliate (or two) focus on strategy, execution, and improving your message with another great brand, targeted exposure will be easier. Investing in your brand often comes with intangible ways to drive results. We can all drive ourselves crazy trying to rationalize, where instead we should commit and focus on executing our message better. As a business owner, marketer, or executive we know and have the instincts on what success looks like.

Figure 1- Shotgun Approach.

Figure 2 – Focused Marketing with a Brand Affiliated Partner

Whether you call it Brand Affiliation or Brand Affiny, leverage your tools and expose your brand with precision.

(Jim Eadie oversees Swineweb.com, Poultryproducer.com, Cropproducer.com, Dairyproducer.com, and Beefproducer.ca and has been involved in digital media in Agriculture for over 16 years.  In his spare time, he enjoys hiking in all areas of Canada and the USA as well as spending time with family.)