DEKALB Farmer Stories

Turning passion and pride in farming into riveting storytelling for DEKALB Canada


DEKALB Canada offers corn, canola and soybean seeds to farmers across Canada. Farming practices and crop rotations vary across the country and agencies prior to Sherpa had delivered a ‘one size fits all’ national campaign that watered down the messages to try to appeal to all farmers.

DEKALB came to Sherpa for our expertise in working with a wide variety of companies across the agriculture value chain and for our seed marketing expertise. We leveraged our unique combination of knowledge of agronomic practices across Canada with our ability to generate results from a data-driven, customer-centric campaign. We knew that sharing authentic messages of farming success with DEKALB products would have a halo effect on seed sales and the DEKALB reputation.

Farmer Stories

This campaign aimed to look very different than every other agriculture campaign running at the time, all of which seemed to feature a lone, handsome, stubble-faced 40-year-old man standing in a field. The DEKALB team had a mandate to showcase the diversity of farm families, including inter-generational stories and to demonstrate how women were active partners in their family’s farm operations. Before this campaign, a 17-year old girl who ran one of the combines on her farm had never been featured in a Canadian advertising campaign.

Story 1
Story 2
Story 3

The creative mandate of each Farmer Story was styled as ‘brand journalism’; developing an authentic voice that hardly felt like marketing. Our copywriter and the DEKALB team created narratives around the interactions of farming and family, highlighting their love for each other, their patience and resilience as well as their desire to leave the land better for the next generation.

Our design team composed visual stories for both traditional and mobile media platforms, which were accompanied by targeted media buys that put each family’s story into the local newspapers closest to their farm. All stories were uploaded to and each family was given a unique landing page for sharing on social media, and to generate measurability. A hyper geo-targeted Twitter campaign also ran in the same region as the printed pieces to further amplify the reach and engagements.

The Sherpa team has spent evenings, weekends, and even all-hands on deck pulling together whatever we've thrown at them. And, with no complaint. The team at Sherpa has the ability to execute on time, with agility, and in a very professional manner. They are on board and help us take things to the next level in the areas where they are marketing experts. The Sherpa team thinks proactively about what we have missed and pushes for what would be an optimal customer experience. We're grateful for their team, knowledge, and experience - to have them invested in our outcomes like a member of the DEKALB team is invaluable.
- Bret Collett Past Employee of Monsanto

These digital tools were essential in creating individual journeys from a story on Twitter to the DEKALB website, to a farmer’s trial results, to DEKALB product profiles; all connected to generate a deeper understanding of the product offerings and to drive purchase intent behaviour. This was exceptionally important for a brand that sells through dealers and does not execute its own e-commerce. Therefore, every potential purchaser needed to become a DEKALB brand enthusiast through their own research before they were potentially switched to our seed brand once they walked in the door.

Over 1,000,000 impressions from the geo-targeted audience

The Results

The campaign achieved significant behavioural change from current and lapsed customers. Increased awareness and recall in those communities along with an increased market share of key products, particularly new offerings and new crop options in emerging markets.

From a digital conversion perspective, each year of the campaign sustained strong metrics for cost per click and cost per engagement. This was important as the client’s parent company was a publicly traded company going through a global acquisition and every dollar was scrutinized to determine return on investment.

This campaign delivered well beyond the client’s expectations. Each year of the campaign demonstrated over a million impressions from the geo-targeted audience and the engagements demonstrated purchase intent behaviour. The average time on site proved that readers were reading all of the content and then converting to a call to action by reviewing product profiles and performance data.

Seed Dealers felt connected and supported by the head office marketing team and asked to feature their farmers in the campaign. Perhaps the strongest indicator of success came from the ‘coffee shop’ where the hearts and minds of every Canadian farmer were engaged. Farmers reported a number of ‘cold calls’ from others who wanted to learn more about their experience (while taking a good-natured ribbing in the community for their efforts in promoting farming).

I chose Marty and the Sherpa team to help build the brand for my new consulting company. It’s a major investment to build a brand - and when you are emotionally connected to that brand, you need a partner who believes in it as much as you do. I chose Marty and the Sherpa team for my personal work after partnering with Sherpa for many years as the National Director of Marketing for DEKALB Canada – a brand that reaches farmers across Canada. Building a customer centric campaign to appeal to farmers in remote regions with specialized, targeted messages instilled pride and increased market share in those communities. The Sherpa team became an extension of my team generating a positive culture of success – another one of the reasons I’ve chosen to work with Marty and the Sherpa team in my new business
- Erin Romeo Former National Marketing Director for DEKALB Canada

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