WHERE WE’RE GOING, WE DON’T NEED TRACTORS.
Launching the first non-tractor based autonomous power platform in the world is an exciting opportunity, but it also meant starting with a blank slate – no product name, no corporate name, no channel, and (at the time) no patents to protect the technology (making confidentiality a concern). Together with the client, we developed a 4P-marketing plan, brand plan and communications plan.
After developing a name, look, and voice for DOT, the next step was to maximize earned media and encourage word of mouth. DOT is a paradigm shift in the agriculture world, and it was likely to be met with a mixture of intrigue and skepticism. Captivating the attention of farmers was essential to generate interest and exposure.
The strategy was to keep DOT under wraps until a teaser launch at Farm Progress Show (FPS) in late June. The teaser – a hitch pin with the message “Ditch the Hitch” and the URL SeeDotRun.com – was hung on parked vehicles in parking lots around the show. When farmers visited the site, they saw a 15-second video of a machine moving without a tractor. Post FPS, we engaged earned media to tell the story and invite farmers to Ag In Motion (AIM) to see DOT perform live every day at 2:45 pm. All other tactics supported the AIM launch event.
Next, we needed to substantiate the product – to quickly combat skepticism with proof that DOT not only works, but is a driving innovation in the future of farming. The plan was to prove it at the R&D farm, launch it publicly at Ag In Motion and sell six initial units to key early adopters in early 2018.
During FPS and the days following, 65% of all website traffic came from direct request, indicating that our “Ditch the Hitch” teaser captured interest and encouraged our audience to visit a new website. Throughout FPS, we delivered 62,500 banner ad impressions. This resulted in 115 teaser site sessions, with a high average session duration of 2:52 minutes and an incredibly low bounce rate of 7.83%.
News of DOT broke on June 28. In the first 30 hours after The Western Producer story broke, their Facebook page reached 23,000 visitors with over 9,000 views of the video. On producer.com, there were 1,151 unique page views with average time on page of 3:06. Over a third of all visitors to the teaser site returned to the full site to find out more about DOT. Visitors spent over three minutes per session learning about DOT, interacting with the FAQ section (8,459 clicks on FAQ items) and watching the video (over 6,000 plays, with over half watching at least 90%). To date, the “Stay Up-to-Date” form has been filled out 710 times.
Front page stories in Manitoba Co-operator, Alberta Farm Express, stories in US publications, online stories from Real Agriculture, producer.com, as well as Australian, Dutch, German and Hungarian agriculture sites all sparked farmer interest around the globe. By the end of AIM, there were many more farmers than needed to buy the 6 DOTs available in 2018. Sales targets will be met and could be exceeded many, many times over if Dot Technology wants to fulfill all orders.
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