Farmers Do Plug-and-Play


With the speed of a lightning flash, digital technology zapped the world of communications and changed the options formedia spends. Suddenly corporate and agency decisionmakers are re-thinking media choices. More importantly, these same top professionals are taking another look at their strategic plans and re-working resource allocation to include digitalmedia as part of the plan.

“Regardless of industry, marketers across all sectors are increasingly making digital media a priority. Digital media presents marketers with unique opportunities to engage consumers, generate data, and establish relationships,” asserts a published report on the Marketing and Media Ecosystem 2010 study.1


That may be true in some industries, you’re probably thinking, but not in the agricultural marketing community. Crop and livestock producers just aren’t that savvy yet…or are they?

Last year, TruffleMedia Networks reports that their agribusiness podcasts generated more than 165,000 downloads, with monthly downloads quadrupling between January and December 2007. Truffle’s audience represents livestock producers, crop producers, agribusiness leaders, and educators. Creating original content and recording key information from a number of industry shows, conferences, and forums, Truffle creates programs and makes each production available from their Web site.

Truffle launched their entry into the digital age with the introduction of SwineCast in 2006. SwineCast publishes two new podcasts every week. Using podcatching software like iTunes, subscribers have new programs automatically downloaded to a designated computer or portable MP3 device like an iPod. Or, interested listeners can go to the SwineCastWeb site and choose to listen to any published program whenever they want. The popularity of SwineCast quickly led Truffle to launch BeefCast, DairyCast, and PoultryCast, all of which work the same way. Their newest offering is CropVillage.

Industry-leading companies and agencies seem to agree. Truffle has worked with agri-giants like Elanco, Mycogen, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Case IH as well as agencies like McCormick, Bader Rutter, BCS, and Colle+McVoy.


Success doesn’t arrive overnight, however. The content development process requires ongoing feedback.

The capture of usable data plays a critical role in all development. Blogs, e-mail, text messaging, Internet comment boxes all contribute to getting more data that’s relevant… and getting it faster than ever before. The Marketing and Media Ecosystem 2010 study underscores this: “The influx of data into marketing has been one of the biggest changes to players across the landscape…. Historically, data had been hard to get, expensive to manipulate, and difficult to manage…The change in data landscape dramatically changes what type of people, processes, and capabilities are needed.”1

The study contends that because of this the consumer voice has been strengthened. “Now, marketers can have real-time conversations with consumers. They can identify and draft high consumer-influencers as brand advocates, gather ideas to improve their products or services, and change their marketing messages and media mix instantaneously, depending on what is working now.”1

To make sure that proper feedback mechanisms are built into their podcast programs, Truffle prescribes its proven process. First, Truffle seeks to better understand client needs and audience needs. During this initial discovery, Truffle gathers insights on the audience and identifies thought leaders and leading story tellers in the industry. The result of this in-depth background research is the development of program objectives and success milestones.

Then, Truffle leads the client through a step-by-step process related directly to the actual podcasts. From planning content to developing compelling stories and storytellers to production, publication, and promotion, the client benefits from Truffle’s experience. Then, as initial programs enter the marketplace, feedback loops help refine future content.

Feedback mechanisms can be built to enable interaction not only with the podcast owner but between members of the target audience. Subscribers connect with one another and offer each other ideas and support. The end result is that these conversations generate even more content ideas for the podcast owner. Success harvests success.