Agriculture | Marketing | Innovation

Category: Thinking (Page 1 of 3)

Reflecting On The Past Decade

It goes fast, what did you do with it?

Each year I have a habit of looking back at the year and reflecting on the major accomplishments and failures. However, 2019 was an exceptional year, and I am sure I ‘m not the only one who is glad to see it go.

Not much went as planned for those of us that work in agriculture. Let’s be honest, there weren’t that many wins in 2019 and since we are at the end of a decade, I thought I’d put together a list of my personal and professional accomplishments and failures for the past 10 years.

In no particular order, they are:

Built 3 new houses

Moved 5 times

Increased our family size by 25%

Managed the build of a really bad website

Learned how to build WordPress websites

Built 3 more websites

Started 3 businesses, closed one

Developed a consumer line of fertilizers

Developed branding for a new ag fertilizer brand

Lead the rebranding of a fertilizer company

Wrote close to 1000 blog articles

Produced over a dozen videos

Hired 8 people, inherited 4 more

Had 3 people quit

Had to let go of 3 people

Taught one child to ride his bike, the other refuses to learn

Developed many new friendships

Sold a company

Bought a farm (follow my progress at )

Took my only consecutive 2-week vacation

Ended a 750,000-mile driving stretch with an epic car wreck

That is my truck in the side (nobody was hurt)

Got two full-time jobs and a bunch of contract work through my network/social media

Got fired for the first time

Resigned from a company

Help launch an award-winning agriculture app (check it out at

Got a dog

This is Scout the day we got her

Grew my personal social following to almost 5000 contacts

Founding member of a trade association

Board member on a couple of industry associations

Lost two grandparents

Became a Cub Scout leader

Rebuilt a shed

Hired an ad agency

Fired an ad agency

Told I was bad at marketing (many times)

Told I was great at marketing (many times)

Told I was bad at sales (many times)

Told I was great at sales (many times)

Moved a company’s server and data to the cloud

Personally only use the cloud

Rode in RAGBRI

Lead and completed an ERP install

Finished two basements

Created an agricultural email marketing list of over 4000 people

Developed a web promotion that went viral and in 24 hours had a 10,000 person email marketing list (consumer products)

Spent approximately 1/3 of the past 10 years in a hotel

Was asked by my oldest, “How come you only live here on the weekends”

Lost 30 lbs

Gained 30 lbs.

Had the most helpful boss

Had the least helpful boss

Went 100% digital

Went back to reading paper books and taking paper notes

Coached youth baseball and soccer

I am sure I am forgetting many, many more failures and few wins. Looking back at the past decade, as a whole, though, there were many more ups than downs. As tough as 2019 was, I have to say the past decade was really amazing and I am looking forward to the next one.

Thank you to everyone that was a part of the wins and the loses. Hit me up on Twitter or LinkedIn and let me know what your 3 biggest accomplishments of the past decade were.

Oh, and Happy New Year!!

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We Get It, You Are The Best, Now Go Away!

Most people hate listening to someone tell everyone how great they are. Yet many companies marketing material is just them bragging about how great they are.talking about yourself

Customers don’t care about you, your company or how great you are. They care about themselves and their problems. What matters is that you can solve those problems. That is what your marketing should focus on.

Nobody wants to buy your products. They want a problem to go away. Can you clearly articulate the results you offer? Do you have proof that you can do what you say you can do?

If your marketing has the following words in it; we, us, and our, then you are not focused on the needs of your customer.

Make your marketing like real life. In real life when you meet someone new, show that you have an interesting personality, that you care about us, that we can trust you and when we have a problem and you can help us solve it. That is how a friend and a customer are won.


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Ideal Sale Rep

No matter what you do in life, selling is an important skill. Want a better table at restaurant or an upgrade on a rental car. How about making a return without a receipt or maybe you need to get your new marketing strategy approved by management, well you better know how to sell.


Incorporate these top traits of an ideal sales rep into your day to day to start improving your performance.


Think abundantly – Not everyone gets to be your customer, not everyone needs your service find the ones that would love to work with you and afford to pay your price.

Dress for success – Appearance matters, your customer’s will judge how successful you can make them by your appearance, dress a level above your customer.

Make appointments – Your time is limited, so is your customer’s, make appointments.

Be on time – Show your customer you respect them and you can be trusted by honoring the first thing you said you would do.

Keep meetings short but effective – You are there to help them be successful, not to spend time with them.

Know your Customer – You customer’s business is your business, anything that could affect your customers business you should know about.

Know your Market – Who buys your products and why, everyone is not your customer.

Know your product – You are the expert, know every detail of your product.

Know your competition – How does your product compare in all aspects.

Be intentionally helpful – Your job is to make your customer successful, in some cases you should recommend they use the competition, if it truly is better for them.

Ask lots of questions – How do you know what is best for your customer without really knowing what they need.

Take good notes – How else can you make sure you are serving your customer if you don’t write down what you discussed.

Put action items on your calendar – As soon as you are done with your meeting, set action item due dates in your calendar.

Don’t wait, make things happen, do it anyway – Get your action items done as soon as possible, not for your customer, not for your boss, for you.


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Plants Have Feelings Too!

Is eating plants less cruel than eating meat? I am not so sure.

plants have feelings too!


After all science shows us that the simple act of mowing your lawn, a past-time many Americans take pride in, is downright barbaric dismemberment. That lovely fresh cut grass smell is your lawn, aromatically shrieking to its brethren that it’s being attacked and needs first aid.

You are causing plants serious anguish and they are changing their behavior because of it.

Yes plant behavior is now a thing

Plants can make decisions based on the perceived level of risk

They communicate with each other in 5 ways:

Plants call for help, they eavesdrop, they defend their territory, they recognize siblings, and can communicate with mammals.

Plants care for offspring

Orchids are downright liars

Since plants have the ability to suffer, they feel pain, pleasure, fear, frustration, and motherly love. Whenever we consider doing something that would interfere with their needs, we are morally obligated to take them into account.

Let’s face it, eating fruits and vegetables supports cruelty to plants. Those idyllic verdant fields are really concentration camps crammed with flora that will never know what it’s like to care for its offspring. Eating vegetarian supports the killing of billions and billions of plants each year.

Ok, yes I am kidding, I don’t care what you eat (provided you are properly and humanly caring for your food source, animal and now vegetable). This was really just an exercise on taking a unique perspective on a topic to allow a shift in mindset.

Is your current product, idea or message not taking root with your customer? Perhaps looking at your problem from a different mindset can provide the innovative answer you need for growth.


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Venn Marketing

No I am not talking about Zen, the Buddhist act of mediation. Though a little more reflection and considered thoughts on a subject would help a lot of marketers out.

I am talking about Venn, or specially, Venn diagrams. A Venn diagram is a diagram that shows all possible logical relations between a finite collection of different sets. Typically overlapping shapes, usually circles, are used.

venn marketing

Venn Marketing is then only talking about the logical relations between what you do and what your customer cares about. Everything else is a distraction.

Your customer is self-absorbed with their own set of problems.  They don’t want to, need to or deserve to know everything you know.

Until you have built trust, found out what their problems are, only talk about what you can do to solve those problems. If you can’t help them, tell them. Then refer them to someone who can.

Too many rookie marketing and sales people verbally vomit the whole load all over a prospect at the first meeting. DO NOT DO THIS.

Working with a client is just like meeting a new friend. Take it slow, find commonality, decide if you like each other, find out what they care about. Only talk about that.

Once you have proven you have their best interest in mind, they will ask you what else you can do for them. They will solicit you to know how else you can improve their business. It so much easier to sell somebody when they are compelled to know more about you.


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