Stop and Think.

I once saw a poster on display in the “creative pen”, at an advertising agency that had retained my superior abilities, and knack, for running errands. At the time, I passed the poster everyday without regard, a proverb without much meaning, as seen on walls anywhere and everywhere, generic and typically ignored. The poster was that of an art director sketching feverishly, at a drawing board (yes it was THAT long ago), crumpled paper tossed about. A few pieces had made it into a trashcan beside the art director; most however, were dashed about haphazardly on the floor. Floating above a few of the discarded crumples were illuminated light bulbs; some brilliant in their color, some fading into the ether. The headline simply read, “Haste Makes Waste.”

To this day, that poster still stands out in my mind. As I’ve progressed in my advertising career and gained many experiences during my journey to become a creative director, I’ve seen more examples of that poster than I care to admit. At times, I’ve been that art director with great ideas scattered about due to my full panic in the moment. Other times I’ve been a silent witness to many wonderful ideas’ slow demise.

The one element all occurrences had in common was a lack of ability to focus due to, what at the time, was a crushing pressure of an oncoming deadline. A deadline that overwhelmed an ability to think properly. And yes, deadlines are real, even necessary, but if only in those times of panic we‘ll remember to slow down and imagine our idea a little further along we might just save ourselves some time and bring to life an idea otherwise lost to the ether.

In the end, there are lots of exceptional ideas out there, dazzlingly brilliant light bulbs just wanting to be brought to life. Unfortunately, most of their lights will be extinguished simply because in times of self-imposed panic we tend to lose sight and focus on the wrong object.

Einstein once said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” He was a much smarter man than I…

Today’s Natural vs. Organic Fresh Meat Consumer

Two years ago, we launched our Consumers’ Case market research platform. This research is our ongoing effort to help the meat industry stay in-tune with the ever-changing consumer. Our Market Research Team is continuously analyzing changes in consumer attitudes and behavior in an effort to determine how those changes will directly affect the meat case. Our goal is to identify opportunities to help the meat industry capitalize on shifts in consumer behavior.

As part of the Consumers’ Case platform, today we’re launching the results of Today’s Natural vs. Organic Fresh Meat Consumer. This research takes a deep dive into who is purchasing natural and organic meat products, their perceptions of the category and the factors that are driving purchases.

The reason we chose natural and organic meat as our next Consumers’ Case topic is that we continue to see a huge void in relevant information on this topic as it relates to fresh meat. There are several resources that regularly report on natural and organic products, but very little is actually reported for fresh meat. We haven’t been able to find answers to the questions we’ve had or those that we’ve been asked by our clients, so we decided to conduct a study ourselves.

If you have a natural and/or organic program or are thinking about offering products in this category, this research report will help you better understand your target consumer, and the best ways to engage and educate them.  This is the first research report focused specifically on natural and organic fresh meat products. For this research we looked at natural meat users separate from organic meat users, and also looked at three specific proteins for each:  beef, pork and chicken.

The number of natural meat products offered at retail continues to grow. Organic meats continue to account for a relatively small but growing percentage of total meat sales. We see continued strong growth for both these products categories in the future. Understanding purchasers of natural and or organic meat will help you better market your products to your current consumers, and also better communicate with potential new customers.

Please check out this new research and let me know your thoughts. You can purchase the report by going to our website, MidanMarketing.com. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to email me directly m.uetz@midanmarketing.com. I hope you enjoy this latest installment of Midan’s Consumers’ Case market research.

Develop a High Performing Online Ad

As the Advertising Coordinator at Midan, I develop advertising schedules for our clients each year. Through my years of experience, I’ve put together some useful tips for online advertising.  First you must ask one of the most important questions in advertising:  “who is the target?” In order to effectively market, you must know your audience.  The following tips will help you develop a successful online advertising campaign.

Know your target
An advertising campaign will not be successful without knowing your target. Become familiar with your target – know their age, ethnicity, geographic location, habits, behaviors, likes, dislikes, etc.  Ask questions like:

  1. What online publications does the target read?
  2. How frequently do they read them?
  3. Do they participate in social media?
  4. What “language” do they speak?

Do your research
Reach out to potential publications and ask questions to better understand who they are reaching. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  1. What is the best performing ad space?
  2. What day has the highest performing ads?
  3. What is their online editorial calendar?

Develop compelling creative
Develop compelling creative that speaks to your audience.  Ads should always include a call-to-action; a strong one gets clicks, which is important if you want your target to learn more about the product or service you are offering.

The imagery is the first thing people notice. Use strong visuals that relate to your product. Bold, bright, clear images will have a positive impact on your click-through-rate (CTR).

Make sure your ads are linking to appropriate landing pages. If your ad is talking about “Product A” and you’re linking them to “Product B,” there will be a disconnect.

Test your creative
Developing ad variations is a good way to test different messages or images that speak to your audience. It’s important to refine your ads when something isn’t working, in order to achieve the best results.
Here are some variations you can try:

  1. Test various call-to-actions (i.e. Click Here, Try Now)
  2. Test words that speak to your audience (i.e. Free, New, Exclusive)
  3. Test people and product images

Measure your results
Request an online advertising report from the publications after each campaign. Compare this report to the traffic on your landing page. These reports will reveal the value of your campaign. It’s also helpful to know the publications’ average CTR of the space you advertised in so you can compare your ads performance to the average.

Track what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Rotating creative is essential to keeping your audience engaged and making your campaign more effective. I hope these tips will help you develop a successful online advertising campaign.

 

Kristy Finley, Advertising Coordinator
Also known as the “Photo Shoot Coordinator Extraordinaire”, Kristy is responsible for ad placements in trade publications and online.  She helps to make sure every detail is perfect in our mouth-watering, professional meat photography.

Consumers: What They Really Think about Antibiotics + Livestock

Danette Amstein, Principal, blogs about her presentation to the American Meat Institute’s Antibiotics Workshop at the 2014 IPPE conference in Atlanta.  Watch to find out how you can positively impact consumer perceptions about antibiotic use in livestock. 

Download the IPPE presentation.

The Importance of Timelines and Due Dates

By Molly Wethington

I worked on a daily schedule before coming to Midan.  I had a daily routine and planned out a week in advance at most.  I think very differently now.  Being in a marketing agency is very fast-paced. There are many different projects going on all the time.  This is why I have learned that project management, timelines and due dates are vital in this industry.

My job requires me to do many different steps of many different projects. These projects can be on a loose time line. Many times I am told no rush, just whenever I get the time. This creates a problem for me.  In order to prioritize and do it correctly, I need to have due dates for things.  I’ve gotten in the habit of always asking for a due date and even though it may be an arbitrary date, it will ensure that the task does not continue to get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list.

Project planning has been a big learning curve for me, but is crucial to a successful, complete project. I want to get my timeline laid out as soon as possible when I have a project coming.  This way there will be no rush and confusion when I start working on the project. It is also important for me to remember that I am not usually the only one working on a project.  My steps are contingent on other steps and other team members’ steps are contingent on mine.  Sometimes our timelines are tight. It is important to look ahead and know what tasks are coming that I am responsible for. That way I get them completed in a timely fashion.  Ultimately, the client’s expectations are to have a successful project completed on time.  In the end, we are trying to meet and exceed those expectations and meeting timelines is a key part in doing so.

Making Ideas Happen

By Lauren Zuber

Amy Eggelston, one of the graphic designers here at Midan  and I attended 99U, a conference focused on Making Ideas Happen, last spring in NYC. The conference focused on how to think in order to make your ideas happen. It was two days packed with speakers telling amazing stories about how they brought their crazy, world-changing ideas to fruition.

During the two days, industry leaders, entrepreneurs, authors, designers and artists shared their personal stories about how their ideas evolved. Through their stories, a thought pattern emerged that can be applied to any problem big or small; work related or personal, world changing or the simple day-to-day. This thought pattern can be summarized by the three points below:

1.       Having a good understanding of yourself and others is essential

  • Being aware and working towards overall personal health including physical, emotional, mental and spiritual is fundamental
  • Being able to identify and understand your own and others emotions, as well as personality types
  • Behavior affects your thoughts and feelings
  • Consider your perspective as well as the perspective of others when you approach a problem.
  • Fight apathy – allow healthy conflict
  • Specialize – Get really good at something you are interested in – passion will follow and you will enjoy your work more.

 2.       Create a game plan

  • Visualize the steps you need to take to reach success
  • Have big goals and take baby steps towards them
  • Instead of just talking about an idea, create a story board
  • Allow yourself to be a guinea pig and test
  • Allow room to fail within your structure
  • Meetings should result in actionable tasks or no meeting should take place
  • Anticipate rather than react

3.       Involve others

  • If you don’t know the answer to a problem, go spend time with people and the answer may reveal itself
  • Tell everyone about your idea and seek feedback early
  • Find mentors
  • You don’t have to be an expert on the topic you are working on – you can learn
  • Know your customer, know your client so you are able to meet their needs and expectations

One of my favorite takeaways from the conference was : Visualize the steps you need to take to reach success. This point was shared during a session that discussed creating a story board with pictures.  I loved it because you get to draw fun pictures! Listen to it here:   http://99u.com/videos/19396/joe-gebbia-executing-your-idea-starts-with-a-small-single-step

I love this idea because it narrows your focus and makes you think through each step that needs to be taken, in order to make your idea happen.

Here are a few of my ideas that have become reality over the past six months:

 

 

My ideas over the past six months have not been as revolutionary as the people speaking at the conference, but they have made a difference in my life. It has also given me a fun way to create a realistic focused plan for new ideas. I have enjoyed seeing my ideas become reality! Now I am off to create more plans on how to bring all these crazy ideas in my head to life!

 

Lauren Zuber is a Sr. Graphic Designer at Midan Marketing.  

Preparing the Next Generation of Marketers with Brahmans, Buggies and Books

By Michael Uetz

Once a year we close our offices and gather our team members in the same location.  For some companies, getting everyone in the same place wouldn’t be a big deal.  For us, it is.  We work out of two offices in two different states and have three more individuals in home offices in other states. Once a year we are all together for a few of days of work and fun. The objectives for this year’s meeting were two-fold: 1) to review Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, in order to ensure all team members understand and embrace his teachings for building an effective team, and 2) to allow team members to spend some casual time getting to know one another better.

Midan adopted the team building learnings from Lencioni’s book a number of years ago. In it, he identifies five pitfalls that teams often fall prey to that prevent effective teamwork. Those pitfalls are absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability and inattention to results. Following his team building recommendations, over the years we believe we’ve developed an incredibly effective team that, as a result, delivers better results for our clients. We revisit Lencioni’s book every year during our team meeting, as it provides a great opportunity for the team members who have been with us for a long time to review the key learnings for team building, and it allows our new members to hear about and participate in the program.. Once again this year, our team’s discussion was inspiring. If you haven’t had an opportunity to read Lencioni’s book, I highly recommend it.

Another given for each of our team meetings is an industry tour of some sort. In the past we’ve visited cattle, hog and dairy operations.. Our goal is to educate team members on all aspects of the meat industry. While many of our team members grew up in agriculture, some did not. Our  team members that weren’t labeled as youngsters as “farm kids” are hired for their marketing/communications and/or research expertise. These tours allow us to introduce them to the meat industry and gain not only an understanding of its structure, but also instill in them an appreciation for those who raise and care for the animals that feed our nation and the world.

This year’s team meeting was held in Orlando, FL and we were fortunate to have the opportunity to visit KEMPFER CATTLE CO., (a family cow/calf operation), located just south of Orlando in Saint Cloud. Kempfer Cattle Co. is currently being managed by fourth and fifth generation family members who are determined to make a difference in all that they do. While their operation is well diversified, including a saw mill, hunting operation and sod farm, in addition to their purebred Brahman and commercial cattle programs, the core of this family operation lies in producing the best beef they possibly can. Their purebred Brahman program includes genetics research designed to improve the tenderness and quality of their Brahman beef. They’ve taken on this challenge not only as a way to ensure opportunities for the next generations of Kempfers on the ranch, but also to improve the Brahman breed and make it a high demand item for Florida and other warm climate producers to raise and market.

But as important as their work in genetics and diversification, what struck me from our visit to the ranch was the family’s commitment to continue to build a solid foundation upon which future generations of Kempfers will be able to stay involved in agriculture as long as they have the desire. You could not help but feel the passion this family has for their cattle, the land, and this way of life. Billy and Reed (fourth generation), Henry,  George and Jimmy (fifth generation) spent half a day with our Midan team sharing details of their operation, its long history, and the challenges and opportunities it provided to all family members over the years. We discussed current industry issues, breed genetics improvements, challenges in inheritance opportunities, the importance of diversification, and the logistics of raising, feeding and marketing cattle in up markets and down. We rode what the team affectionately called “Swamp Buggies” across acres and acres of land to look over their pure-bred and commercial herds and saw firsthand the result of all their hard work. It was an incredible day, and an amazing opportunity for the Midan team.

At the end of our day as our team debriefed on our experience at Kempfer Cattle Co., I could tell that this family had provided us with the ideal opportunity to share with our team an example of why we do what we do day in and day out. We do it for families like the Kempfers. We do it in order to assist in creating opportunity for all those men and women who work the land and raise their animals in an effort to do what they love on a daily basis, but also to develop products that feed a hungry world. To the Kempfer family and all the other farmers and ranchers out there who do the same every day, we thank you for all you do and wish you success and longevity.

My first few months at Midan

It’s been about four months since I started working at Midan Marketing. How could I have ever imagined working with a team of professionals who are not only extremely smart about meat and how to promote it, but are genuine, committed and an absolute pleasure to work with? Looks like I finally have my dream job!

I pretty much hit the ground running my first week at Midan. I got to dig in on a brand tracking study, getting the most value and quality for our client, keeping the details intact. A qualitative project was already underway so it was a new experience for me to understand a unique method for getting consumer feedback. At the end of the first few weeks, I have to admit the most fun I had was working on a proprietary Midan project called Manfluence, thinking about men grocery shopping and cooking! [Read more…]

Why data rules the marketing world

You probably spent a lot of time this past holiday season shopping for gifts for the loved ones on your list. Maybe you got your mom an iPod so she can finally retire that pile of CD’s in the minivan. Or maybe your little nephew was all about the latest cartoon character toy from Nickelodeon®. Or perhaps you finally got that new five-speed blender for your special someone. If it’s the last case, you probably noticed that you now can’t escape online ads for kitchen appliances. Getting sick of all the microwave and toaster bargains popping up on your screen? Well, just blame the data. [Read more…]

Getting to the meat of the matter

Like most working women, my day starts early when the house is still quiet, giving me a few minutes to think through the numerous activities that will fill my day, plan for things I need to do and catch up on the news. I typically save the news for the last part of my morning ritual – not because it’s my favorite (it’s not), but because what I see and read, or the lack of it, often frustrates me. [Read more…]

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