On the Grounds: Ag in Motion 2019

Sherpa account manager, Andrew Baulin, and the TrendSET team made their way northwest of Saskatoon, SK, for Ag in Motion 2019 on July 16-18. We spoke with Andrew on his experience being on the tradeshow grounds for the first time and what he took away from his visit.  

This year was the 5th anniversary of Ag in Motion (AIM) and your first time, what was the general feeling of the event?

Andrew: Both exhibitors and attendees seemed excited for the tradeshow—but with it being the biggest outdoor ag show in Western Canada—I wouldn’t expect anything less. 

It’s a great opportunity for companies to showcase their products/services and have meaningful interactions with potential and current customers; while attendees get to see demos, test plots, machinery, and everything farming all in one place.

Andrew Baulin at Ag in Motion 2019 

You were at AIM to support in the launch of NexusBioAg, a sole distribution agreement between BioAg and Novozymes. Can you tell us more about the new relationship?

A: Formerly known as NexusAg, NexusBioAg, is the crop nutrition business from Univar Solutions—NexusBioAg is now the exclusive distributor of Novozymes’ inoculants in Canada. It’s a crop nutrition portfolio that included micronutrients, nitrogen stabilizers, and foliars just got stronger by adding Novozymes’ inoculants.

The launch at AIM went really well. It was fun to be involved with the launch and ensuring the website, social media, digital ads, radio, etc. were all properly timed with a cohesive message going to the market.

AIM was the perfect time to launch NexusBioAg and for the company to discuss with growers how this new agreement will positively impact them.

Having a ‘plot’ close to the entrance is always great. There was lots of foot traffic going through the booth; learning about the new agreement and NexusBioAg. People were drawn to the NexusBioAg orange banner flags too: they really stood out.

You were stationed mostly at the NexusBioAg booth for two days of the three-day event but what were the main topics you heard on the tradeshow grounds?

A: Obviously, lots of talk about the new agreement and the rebrand to NexusBioAg. Growers coming in and seeing how this new agreement could have a positive impact for them and obviously lots of conversations regarding the crop nutrition portfolio that NexusBioAg offers growers.

My colleagues were commenting they noticed more companies engaged in content capturing and digital marketing teams on the tradeshow grounds then in previous years. With AIM being the largest outdoor tradeshow in Western Canada, companies have test plots, machinery, demos, and their best employees out for the tradeshow.

For many organizations, it was a great opportunity to capture content for the rest of the year; we saw shoots including reps demoing pieces of equipment, ‘how-to’ style videos—explaining how a product works and showing how their test plots performed—and even customer feedback videos.

TrendSET in field for video production

Any agriculture industry concerns you overheard while walking from booth to booth?

A: We heard there is over 1000 fields in Alberta with clubroot, it was a large topic of conversation. There was even a clubroot wash station for vehicles entering the tradeshow grounds.

Any cool giveaways/swag that you saw or walked away with?​

A: I got myself a NexusBioAg mini football, but nothing else made it into the gift bag. Giveaways/swag is always an interesting topic at tradeshows, people love to get free stuff and will enter no-strings attached draws and for exhibitors having attendees walking around with your branded swag or talking to others about your giveaways is powerful advertising.

There’s great potential for reach there: Having attendees use your branded swag months or years after the tradeshow in other parts of the country can only help spread awareness. I like the food/drink giveaways at these big tradeshows; some booths were giving away ice cream, another popcorn and even one with milk!

From a marketing perspective, it’s interesting to observe how giveaway incentives can reach potential customer. There’s value in, for example, a draw that brings someone in who might not otherwise come to your booth/plot. It allows for a meaningful conversation with a representative or member of the team; creating that connection all businesses crave.

We saw social posts of an eco car and a virtual welder in a training lab. Any highlights regarding livestock, exhibitions, crop demonstration plots, displays, machinery, etc.?

A: I wish I had time to see more demos, and I see why it’s a 3-day event. It would probably take that long if you stepped into every booth for a conversation and attended every demo session. Toyota setup a test course for attendees to test drive new models - just scanning the parking lot there would be a good number of attendees that I’m sure had interest in that!

You met the new faces of Western agriculture, young growers and seed partners, amongst others. Did you notice anything in particular about how they are approaching growing or ag in general compared to veteran growers?

A: I can’t exactly say this is different between the generations, but sustainability in agriculture is a big topic. Growers always want to maximize their yield, but it has to be done in a way that doesn’t jeopardize their field in future years or the land around them.

They are more aware of the inputs they are applying to their field (insecticides, fungicides, etc.) and the affects these inputs have on their crops and the land around it.

At Sherpa, we are a digitally focused marketing agency. Any takeaways from the social media usage at AIM 2019 that would help our clients?

A: You must be active on social media during tradeshows and events. Most tradeshows have their own Twitter account and a hashtag to follow the conversation. Attendees are on social media to see what is happening, what they might be missing out on and are tweeting their own experiences.

It’s a great opportunity for companies to post content knowing their target audience will be active on social media platforms. It’s also a great time to post promoted content and geo-target the tradeshow location.

A big takeaway is growers ARE on social media; Twitter is a platform that has to be utilized by companies to not only get their services/products in front of consumers but also to start conversations with growers.

A week after AIM the 2nd annual Ag Twitter Meetup occurred.  People are getting more comfortable sharing their experiences on social media, and growers are no exception. They share their experiences throughout the growing season and interact with other growers to share advise.

Check out more on Ag in Motion HERE.

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