Archive for Dairy Cattle Marketing – Page 2

PATTY JONES: Picture Perfect!

Patty JonesPatty Jones has a passion for cows and for people who share that passion.  “I work with a lot of new young farmers.  I tell them off the bat what they need to do.”  And she says they listen and pay attention. No doubt they recognize that with nearly forty years of experience photographing between 60 and 65000 cows, she knows what she’s talking about. Even longtime clients of Canadian Livestock Photography occasionally forget details.  Patty says the young guys know this is important. “I wouldn’t be working if I didn’t help my clients make money.  They’re not just taking pictures for the hell of it”! She is sincere about what everyone is aiming for. “If I can help farmers, especially the younger guys, to get going and make a little bit more out of their investment.  What the heck?  That’s what I do it for.”


Once the preparation details have been discussed Patty hopes to arrive and find the heads have been tied up they are all cleaned and everything goes ahead on schedule. If picture taking is new to the breeder Patty has a couple of suggestions: “Pick out the top mother cows.” Looking at the changing industry she adds” Nowadays, of course, pick the genomic heifers.” What a change this has made in the industry and for Patty. “My business has really increased in photographing heifers because of genomics.”


The secret to great pictures according to Patty comes down to “Patience”. Patty is emphatic about this and gives an example. “Daughters of Goldwyn have taught a lot of people patience.” This is a lesson learned over time. “Twenty years ago we wouldn’t have known what to do with them. Today we know the secret. Patience!” She says she even practices this while waiting at stop lights. “Waiting for five minutes … Patience is a virtue.”


Good photography is taking the same old picture, cow, situation … and looking at it from a different angle. “Good pictures have always been the key to cattle marketing.” Wherever breeders talk marketing they are told a picture is worth a thousand words.  “A lot of farms like Roybrook and Glenafton knew the importance of pictures and made good use of them.” She feels the industry knows it isn’t a choice.  Just do it.


Stepping back from the camera lens Patty points out that there are some changes in the perspective of the modern dairy farmer that she thinks are good for the longevity of the cattle breeders themselves, “The biggest change that I see with the young guys is that I would call them smart farmers.  This is not to say that previous generations were not smart.  But these new guys are not focused on fourteen hour days of manual labour.  We will have a lot healthier and older farmers. As it has with cameras, mechanization has come into play. Modern farm families see that it is very important to be able to get away.  Kids, wives and husbands need that time away to get renewed.” She supports this by quoting advice she gave a young farmer who complained that relief milkers can be awfully expensive. She pointed out, “So can losing half the farm!”  “Stop and smell the flowers” is something that she preaches and tries to practise.


A world traveller who gets to know new countries from the very best location – people’s barns and kitchens.” How did she get these opportunities? “I never had specific goals but as I look back on my career, I can see that everything built on ability and passion. Everything has led me to where I am today.  I live for this.  Every morning I wake up and wonder what I’ll see today.”  She recalls doing a picture for the Pope at his summer residence. She explains, “Special arrangements had to be made.  After the third time that I crossed the helicopter pad I asked myself, “How many Popes have stood on this same spot.” Awesome she admits but not the most memorable ever because she says, “Hopefully I haven’t had it yet!|


Patty points to a career that is still evolving and teaching her new things about people, places and cows:


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Times have changed. Why hasn’t the way you market your dairy cattle?

You wouldn’t breed your top genomic cow to Rudolph. So, why are you marketing your cattle the same way you did 10 years ago?

That is the biggest question I am having trouble understanding. Genomics has revolutionized the breeding industry but, for  the most part, nothing has changed in the way most breeders, and especially most breeder magazines are marketing cattle.

Ten years ago marketing was largely print media based. Technological developments have changed the way people buy things.  This does include the way buying cattle.  According to Google over 12,000 people search for terms related to the dairy breeding industry.  More importantly than that, over 4,000 people per month search for terms such as dairy cattle embryos, Holstein embryos, Holstein semen, dairy cattle genetics That clearly shows that they have the intent to buy genetics.

Here are some examples of breeders who are embracing change and doing it right:

Avonlea Genetics

Avonlea Genetics keeps an active and up-to-date website that has the latest news.  More importantly they also do a newsletter to keep their followers up to date on what is going on as well as upcoming consignments or sales.

Avonlea Genetics

La Ferme Gillette Inc.

Keeps an active Facebook page where they are always updated on recent events at the farm as well as letting fans and potential customers get to know the people behind the name.

La Ferme Gillette

Ferme Jacobs

Ferme Jacobs really gets it.  They have started using the power of video and YouTube to show potential buyers just how their animals walk and look.  It’s does not have to be a big fancy production.  A simple video shot on your smart phone can do the trick.  Never under-estimate the power of video.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

These are just a few of the examples of how you can adopt your marketing to stay in touch with your marketplace.  It does not mean you have to spend huge dollars. Each of these potential marketing channels are very cost effect.  Some cost  nothing more than your time.  The big thing to remember is that times have changed. There are more ways to market your cattle than just some big expensive print ad, that is out of date in no time and barely remembered by most of your potential buyers.


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Ocean View Genetics: The Fine Art of Marketing Great Breeding

When it comes to marketing dairy cattle, Pam Nunes leads the way.  Pam became the driving force behind this part of the business at Ocean View Genetics because of her background as owner and designer of Westwynde Communications.  “Since my company is an advertising firm, the marketing aspects for Ocean View pretty much became my job over the years. Marvin and Daryl always advertised in the World and believed in marketing, but as time and my company evolved I took on a larger role in the different aspects from advertising, showing and even sales.”  They were happy to make, milk and take care of the cows and let me handle the marketing.” For the last sixteen years, Pam and husband Daryl worked together to take strings out to the shows, put on the Harvest sales and helped evolve the marketing into what many people think of today as Ocean View.”


The impact of great advertising has had a very positive effect on Ocean View. “I’m always amazed at the number of people who comment on our advertising. It’s good to know it gets noticed.” Getting noticed is the bottom line in the cattle business. “I remember the year Lindy Sheen went to Expo, and it was interesting how many people knew the cow at a glance. These were people not from our area who could have only ever seen her in print ads. That’s when you know advertising can be powerful.”


Powerful advertising is everyone’s goal.  We put a lot of worry, time, consultations, proofing and reviewing into ad creation.  Pam says there can be a lighter side too.  “The funny thing is that so often our own ads are thrown together. Kind of like the shoe makers kids with holes in their shoes. There have been some instances where our ads actually started as horse ads and I needed an idea quick because our ad was due. So voila – out goes the horse and in goes the cow!”

Oceanview Mandel Zhandra EX-95-2E

Oceanview Mandel Zhandra EX-95-2E EEEEE Gold Medal Dam, Dam Of Merit


You always want to attract attention with your marketing. Pam’s ads are good at that and she points to Mandel Zandra to illustrate. “She has been the easiest cow to ever work with over the years. She captured a lot of attention in the show ring with her style and it transmitted not only to her photos but also her offspring. She has 12 Excellent daughters so far. She lives in Wisconsin now and will turn 16 in March. She was the subject of many photos this fall during Expo. We had her in a pasture with 10 of her grand-daughters. It never failed that when people drove in they asked if that was her. We even had a gentleman from Japan show us the screen saver on his phone…it was Zandra.  If she had never been shown or advertised I doubt anyone would know the name today.


Having said that, Pam knows the time it takes to stand out. In the cattle business most ads are done by the publications still. They can usually spend about an hour on an ad with all they do. “Our ads usually average three to five hours.  A magazine can’t spend that amount of time on each page they have. I am happy to say that I am really seeing more effort put into ads these days on the cattle side and there are some magazines now that do a great job with their ads.

Pam’s years of experience have added up to some clear ideas about what works.

    “I also think you can’t have a successful ad without a great image. Making sure you have the cow looking the part and lots of help and a great photographer will make all the difference in successful photos. You can’t have a good ad without a good photo!”
    Once you`ve got good photos! Make sure you get an eye-catching ad developed to go with them. Remember…the purpose of an ad is to attract the reader’s eye enough to get them to read it…and want more.
    “A pet peeve of mine is if it’s unreadable. You can have the greatest looking ad but if you can’t READ it – it’s a failure. Too often you see design overwhelming the subject.  That’s always a recipe for disaster. It’s not a showcase for Photoshop effects or crazy backgrounds or fonts etc – it’s about the cows!
  4. K.I.S.S. and TELL
    Modern cattle advertising now needs to go one step further. It’s time to kiss and tell. K.I.S.S. Keep it simple stupid.  Pam feels strongly about this. “Keep your ad simple and put the detailed information on your website. Don’t try to tell them the entire history of your animal in the ad. It defeats its purpose.” The telling part happens on the internet. These days websites are essential to selling. For effective advertising, remember K.I.S.S. and TELL.
    Use what you know to decide where your advertising dollar is best spent. Just like you shop around for the best corn or hay prices – do your homework on your advertising dollars too. Don’t be afraid to try different advertising venues and find out what ones work. Ask people where they saw your ad when you get calls or emails.” Use what you know to decide where your advertising dollar is best spent. With websites these days you can track where your traffic comes from. With print ads there is no way to easily measure your return, but if you do your homework you can get a feel for where you get the most response.


You know when your advertising is working because the success is right there in the sales’ figures.  Pam reports. “Our last two Harvest sales were exciting events to plan and execute. We did all the marketing and event planning for them, as well as lining up the fitting crew and deciding what the farm would consign. We’re super pleased with the number of success stories that have come from these sales with Reserve All-Americans and even 94-pt cows having gone through the ring.”


Today Pam and Daryl have started “OCEAN VIEW GENETICS”. “We look forward to continuing the same path we have been on, only in Wisconsin.” And what a path that has been!

The accomplishments the Ocean View herd has made over the years are huge with over 330 Excellent cows that carry the prefix, 90 Gold Medal Dams and 11 cows over 300,000 lifetime. Pam sees more tributes in the future. “I think you’ll hear stories for years to come about success with animals purchased in Marvin’s dispersal on May 2nd. It’s going to be an opportunity to buy foundations.” Looking ahead she adds, “Although we’re not involved in the sale, we plan to attend and possibly add a few more cows that we weren’t able to buy before our move to Wisconsin.”


Going from 350 free stalls to 38 tie stalls has been the biggest challenge for “Ocean View Genetics”. Recalling the process, Pam says, “It really makes us focus on what animals we add to the milking herd. Our focus will be a little different from in the past.” Of course, each decision is already providing results to look back on. “What really shocked us was that we brought an old Outside that was dry with over 250,000 and figured we’d get the calf out of her and have to sell her. She actually had the first heifer on the farm for us and is now over 290,000 and just went Excellent. She just KNEW what her job was and took right to everything without a second look.”


The Nunes’ are excited about their plans for the future. “We figure we need to sell twenty head a year to keep at our size. We also have both said we don’t want more than either of us can milk by themselves. When the milker did not show up in California, it was a lot cows to milk, but we did it. Now it’s much less daunting if someone oversleeps! Actually our cows surprised us with how easily they adapted to the change.” Obviously, adapting is good for cows and good for people too!


“As we move forward, we are not going to be afraid to sell the good ones. Our plan is to keep the factories and sell the offspring that we need to allow us to stay in business.”
Pam Nunes, Ocean View Genetics


Want to take your marketing to the next level, download our free guide “The Dairy Breeders Guide to Facebook“.

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