Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a twitter chat about Dairy Cattle Marketing Ethics. During the conversation there was a recurring theme of “buyer beware”. Whether it was about photo enhancement or sales claims, the ultimate message was that buyers should beware of everything they read or see. The problem is – and I have seen this many times in other industries – “buyer beware” is no way to grow a strong business.
Technology has greatly changed not only marketing, but also the sales of dairy genetics worldwide. You are no longer selling to the breeder next door, in your state or province, or even in the same country anymore. Often, you are selling to breeders halfway around the world. While this opens up huge marketplaces for top genetics, it also creates an opportunity for potential customers to be lead astray. These breeders do not know the characters of the people selling their genetics, or even if they can trust that the genetics they purchase, there is the question of will it bring the desired results.
For years I have heard of extremely high prices being paid for mid-level genetics, to markets that were not as educated as the North American market at the time. Breeders would be more than happy to sell their cattle for twice as much as they would get domestically, and not even worry how things would work out for the breeder buying their cattle. The thing is, those breeders who lead breeders astray now find themselves in a tough predicament, and those breeders who worked at developing a trusting relationship with these marketplaces have now found themselves in good stead.
One of the areas that seemed to be of unified agreement during the twitter chat was that of photo manipulation. With no formal organization to regulate how photos are altered, and technology advancing so rapidly, photo abuse has reached insane levels. To a point where it seems like most breeders no longer trust the pictures of cattle; it has been said that anyone can get a great shot these days “one way or another.”
During the chat, it came to my mind that if we cannot expose those who are crossing that ethical line (note: I’m still considering doing a “10 worst photos of all time” article and let the breeders decide who is ethical and who is not). However, until then, if you cannot operate from the negative, maybe we should operate from the positive. Maybe we should create a stamp or seal that identifies those images that have not been enhanced in anyway. Yes, the pictures will not look as glossy or shiny, but they will help build trust, since you know what you see in these images will be what you get when you purchase genetics from these animals/breeders/companies.
“Buyer beware” is no way to build a long-term business. While you may make money in the short run, in the long run you will pay the price. The industry is too small and technology has opened up communications around the world greatly. The best way to build your marketing and sales strategy is to have your customer be your number one focus. Work at making them into raving fans of the genetics they purchased and the support you’ve provided them. While this will take more effort than the quick sale, your long term cash flow will greatly benefit. Consider this a message of “Seller Beware.”
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