By definition, being strategic requires that you look forward — identifying trends, opportunities, and threats. That’s how good drivers drive on super highways and it’s how good breeders keep moving forward too. You can choose the less risky route of staying in the parking lot but you won’t get anywhere. Here are a few ways to keep your herd moving toward the future.
By the end of next year, even the skeptics will have to admit that genomics, smart phones and tablets are here to stay. The early adopters and best-practice breeders are using these devices. They love being able to see all incoming e-mail, social messaging, text messaging, and voice and video messaging in a single place. They`re using them as the new resource to learn about and manage almost every aspect of cattle breeding.
As dairy breeders zero in on genomics, finding the leaders, at the right price in the right location and instantly … will change the face of dairy cattle marketing. The twice a year showcase or the every three to five years reduction sale will gradually give way to a marketplace that is in “sell” mode 24-7 and 365 days of the year. Sellers will move beyond single page ads, special events and the cattle ring for promotion as a whole new breed (pun intended) of niche players will be born with the intention of providing the best results from your advertising dollars. The days of a few key players topping the markets with their well orchestrated, for-your-eyes only live marketing events will gradually give way to on line live video interviews, marketing and promotion one-on-one. Rather than the traditional “one-size-fits-all” advertising strategy, a targeted personalized approach will be required if you expect to have a reasonable chance to sell in the new marketplace.
Most dairy breeders recognize that genomics is a tool to improve selection. As results become more refined and defined the potential impact will have even more converts. Global economic issues will be with us for years to come and that too will drive genomics development to target more and better ways to breed great cattle to their highest potentially in the fastest, healthiest and most economical way possible.
The continued growth of technology, social media, and easy communications now makes it possible a dairy breeder in China to come to your barn, see your cows and complete a sale with no middle men, expensive “tire-kicking” trips or costly international time zone, travel and financial issues. Today it’s take-a-look and complete-the-deal. With the whole world able to look over your shoulder in your barn, big business definitely sees the potential and is ready to grab a piece of the pie.
Remember the good old days (that would be 10 years ago) when we had to sit through breeder meetings and association animal meetings and hear about the difficulties of getting the right research done at the right time and at a reasonable cost? Industry and government were supposed to be pulling together to fund research that would have an impact on more than the scientific community. Sometimes breeders were skeptical, or unaware, of the practical applications. Remember CAAB? Genomics has changed all that. Now not only are the money streams more accessible and flowing, the really big players with the really big bucks are ready and willing to become the new best friends of the cattle breeding industry.
You can no longer hope that a few expensive colour layouts in a magazine will give you the profile you’re looking for to sell those also expensive genetics that you’re investing in. Having good genetics, a great work ethic and savvy cow sense, is no longer enough to have you speeding through the rapidly expanding crowd where everybody says, “Been there. Bred that!” The increased use of social media and digital marketing will be the new way for the cream to rise to the top.
In the past, you knew who the “players” were and the rest didn’t blip on your radar. Today, you’ve got one chance to make a good first impression. You never know when someone’s phone will capture a video and or audio of your inventory (is that what she “really” looks like?) and share it around the world. You could try keeping your doors selectively closed but that will send a message too and it could be a negative one! You are caught between the camera and a hot place!
Forward-looking decision-making: Although hindsight is 20/20, if you’re moving ahead you cannot spend your time looking backward at what happened in the past. The dairy business of the future is following the growth signs: market supply and demand; new dairying technologies and genomics to name a few. This forward-looking focus will not only improve decision-making but will lead the way to a future that is built on the past but moving way faster than we ever though possible. Keep moving on the dairy industry express lane or you could be stuck on the off-road ramp or, even worse, left in the parking lot!