Agriculture Communication


Marketing Staff

Visit with Kelli Anderson, 231-6136; Ellen Crawford, 231-5391; or Becky Koch, 231-7875, about brochures, event publicity, marketing strategies and more.


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Marketing Materials Available for Summer Events

Need pocket folders for a meeting, conference, field day or other event? The Distribution Center wants to move out the last of the NDSU Agriculture and University Extension pocket folders before considering updated ones. Plenty of gold ones are available and a few green ones. They're just 50 cents each, which is about half the cost of NDSU folders at the bookstore.

NDSU Extension Service pocket folders also are available for 50 cents each. Extension note cards with envelopes are 20 cents each.

To order, email the Distribution Center or call (701) 231-7883.

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Marketing Needs Good Writing

When you think of marketing, do you think of writing? Many elements go into a successful marketing campaign, but your message will be lost if it’s sent in a package of misspellings and grammatical errors.

One important element in writing is proofreading. Though everyone has a unique proofreading process, some general strategies that can be helpful to most writers.

·  Allow yourself time between writing and proofing.

·  Reading your work aloud encourages you to read every little word.

·  Ask someone else to read your article to get another perspective.

·  Do not rely on your computer's spell-check because it will not catch everything.

·  Keep track of the errors you make frequently.

·  Ask yourself what the most successful part of your paper is and how could it be made even better.

 Ag Communication has more proofreading tips to help you through the process.

Rich Mattern, Information Specialist, (701) 231-6136

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Word-of-mouth Marketing

Most programs and research projects don’t have funds for promotion. What to do? Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the strongest and cheapest forms of marketing you ever will use. It often is overlooked by large organizations and companies.

Begin with a description of your “customers.” Think about who they are (age, income, education), what they do and where they are from (ZIP code, distance from you).

Next, think about how you will reach your customers. Is it a news release, field sign, meeting, networking?

Think about your appearance on a daily basis, such as eye contact, posture, tone of voice, handwriting, spelling, thoughtfulness, enthusiasm and energy level.

Reaching your target audience and thinking about how others perceive you will go a long way in having people spread the word about your program.

Satisfied customers may tell three or four people about their positive experience. Conversely, dissatisfied customers will tell at least nine other potential customers.  

Information about you and your program through word of mouth is becoming increasingly important as more people bypass the traditional mass media and rely on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

Sources: University of Wyoming and Guerilla Marketing Yourself by Jay Conrad Levinson

Rich Mattern, Information Specialist, (701) 231-6136

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PowerPoint Templates

New NDSU Extension Service and North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station templates for PowerPoints are available.

The templates have been designed to provide great-looking presentations while making your life easier. The templates also are designed to be consistent with NDSU’s image.

To create an eye-catching presentation that maintains our image, follow these suggestions:

* For consistency, it’s best not to change the layout, colors or typefaces. Please do not move or modify the logo or other placed graphics.

* A minimal use of animation effects is strongly encouraged because they can be distracting.

* Try to keep the size of the type as shown in the templates.

* Save photos at a resolution of 72 dpi (dots per inch) before importing into your presentation. This will avoid creating an unnecessarily large file that slows down the slideshow.

If you want to spice up your PowerPoint presentation, be sure to read PowerPoint Pizzazz. 

(Source: NDSU University Relations)

Rich Mattern, Information Specialist, (701) 231-6136


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Marketing Tips: Creative and Consumer Strategy


If you are preparing a new program or continuing one that has not been as successful as you would like, you or your team needs to consider a creative or consumer-oriented strategy before doing anything else.

Creative strategy explains the benefit of the product or program (what), the composition of the target audience (who), and why they should believe the message (why). A creative strategy often is developed by using a creative strategy statement. In a creative strategy statement, you put the who, what and why of the strategy into one statement to help you clearly define your plan.

My message will target (who) and convince them that (what) because (why).

A consumer-oriented strategy promotes the brand image, describes the lifestyle associated with the product or service, or appeals to the attitudes and values of the audience. For example, a consumer-oriented strategy could explain that people who use information from the Master Gardener program enjoy the lifestyle of having a beautiful landscape around their homes.

Courtesy University of Florida Extension

Rich Mattern, Information Specialist, (701) 231-6136

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Your Longer Brand Story


Last month, we asked you to think about what your 30-second speech that summarizes you job would be if you met Gov. Dalrymple in an elevator.Now let’s think about what you would say if you had more time to talk about what you do and promote your organization.

To do that, let’s equate your speech (which you should write down and memorize) to your hand.

Let’s start with the thumb. Think of it as the start of your “thumbs up” speech. This is your chance to introduce your organization and how it empowers you to improve lives.

Next we have the index finger, which symbolizes solutions to problems. Give a couple of quick facts to build context for the organization.

Then we have the middle finger, which is the tallest finger. This is your chance to talk about four or five things your organization does really well. (Remember, you don’t have all day.)

Many people wear rings on their fourth finger, so let’s think of this finger as the “going for the gold” part of your speech. Here is where you talk about what you do, your position and how you are helping  build a better future.

Your little finger indicates that your organization is accessible to all and helps find solutions to large and small problems. Then ask if you have answered the person’s question or if the person would like to know more about something.

As you give your mini presentation, speak with passion about the organization and what you do!

(Courtesy eXtension)

Rich Mattern, Information Specialist, (701) 231-6136


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Your 30-second Elevator Speech

You get in an elevator and next to you is Jack Dalrymple, North Dakota’s governor. Trying to be polite, he asks your name and what you do. You know that he has a big say in funding the organization, but you also know that you only have only a few floors to tell your message. 

So what do you say in 30 seconds or less?

eXtension has developed some tips on creating an effective elevator speech.

  • Introduce yourself – My name is [your name] and I work for [insert name] as a [job title].
  • Give the governor a few quick facts on how you and the organization have made a difference (I know, there may be 10, but you only have a few floors to go).
  • Ask a question back. Did I answer your question? Is there more I can help you with?
  • Write out your 30-second speech and practice it. If you have to, tell it to your dog. The dog won’t mind. Try the speech on a few people at work to get their opinion.
  • Give your speech with gusto and mean what you say.

Now, you are thinking that the chances of running into the governor are slim, so you don’t need an elevator speech. However, remember that the attention span of the average person is just 30 seconds before his or her mind starts wandering. Also, people have less time today, so you need to grab them quickly or lose them forever.

Richard Mattern, Information Specialist, (701) 231-6136

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Facebook Changes Its Privacy Settings

Recently, Facebook has made some changes to the way it handles privacy and sharing settings. Up until now, the settings for who can see your status updates, personal information, pictures, etc. have all been kept on one obscure page. Taking cues from the market (Google+) and the legal system (lawsuits by European governments), Facebook has now given users much more say in how their information is shared.

The biggest change at the current time is that the privacy settings are now attached to the affected information. Each status update can be shared with either Friends or the Public (a change from the word "Everyone"). And you can change your mind about this after you've posted the update. (You could never change anything about your updates previously.)

Another feature that will soon be implemented is the idea of groups. Facebook currently has a Groups feature, but it is so inconvenient to use, even the most die-hard users don’t take advantage of it. This is going to change in the future and look much more like Google+'s Circles feature. It will give you more control to determine the relationship you have with others rather than lumping everyone under the term "Friends."

You will also have the ability to approve or reject tags on photos, including on photos others post. If a tag has your name on it, you will be able to review it first before it goes "Public." You will also be able to control if, how, and when you share your location as well. Currently, you can only do this with the Facebook Places feature in smartphone apps, and only while you’re at that location. Soon, you’ll be able to identify your location after you’ve made the post. So once you’ve returned home, for instance, you can go back through your status updates and photos and mark the locations you were when you made them. You will also be able to identify locations you will be at in the future in case you want to crowdsource some traveling tips.

Bottom line, Facebook has made it much easier for you to know what’s going on with your information and given you much more control over who sees it. And unlike previous changes to such policies, Facebook gave advance notice of these changes and you’ll see some notices when they become active for you. Take a minute or two and check out the changes and know what’s going on with your information. That’s common sense whether online or off.

(See Facebook's full announcement.)

Julie Kuehl, (701) 231-6403

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Marketing Tips: Moving Into the Digital Age

Millions of people are using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, chat rooms and much more. These people are sharing their thoughts, opinions, experiences and learning how to improve their lives. Are you part of this social media world?  If not or if you want to improve your skills, Ag Communication can help.

In social media:

  • Be transparent – communicate your intentions openly and honestly to invite more social interaction

  • Be authentic – Act more like a real person and less like a faceless company

  • Be relevant – Create content that adds value

  • Be consistent – Monitor, respond, generate content on a regular basis and think about your audience and message

  • Be patient – It is about reaching one person who reaches 100 who reach 1,000, so it takes hard work through a long period

Rich Mattern, Information Specialist, (701) 231-6136

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Social Media Guidelines


Using social media tools like Facebook and Twitter is an important part of serving our customers today and in the future. Listening, promoting, participating, publishing and building community with social media will help us succeed in the changing world of technology and communications.

As you begin to use these exciting new tools, be sure you do so in a professional manner. Ag administration has supported the Social Media Guidelines developed by the Ag IT Advisory Group. By following these simple guidelines, you can truly engage in online conversation with your audiences.

For more information, contact Bob Bertsch or .

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