Having the opportunity to host the winter meeting of the Independent Precision Ag Alliance at our home office in Brookfield, Wis., last week, I wanted to make an impression on the dealers who made the trip to attend.

Hopefully, the grilled brats and 5-cent tour of our operation was sufficient. By all accounts, it was a successful meeting, based in large part on the depth and diversity of discussions that took place.

One of the topics that the group tackled was marketing, and how to best budget and spend money to make an impression on customers. There are any number of options to try and attract attention — field days, industry events, billboards, radio and social media.

But one of the challenges is quantifying the return on marketing investments. Spending $1,500 per month for a billboard overlooking a busy stretch of interstate attracts a lot of eyes, but does it translate to increased foot traffic at nearby store locations? (Sometimes, it results in calls from semi drivers in need of roadside assistance, notes one dealer, which isn’t their target customer).

Investing $200-$300 for local radio commercials is another option. Or getting the face-to- face interaction with farmers at industry events. (One dealer estimated spending more than 2 weeks per year at local farms shows).

Paid ads on Facebook or Google are other marketing tactics that can be relatively inexpensive, yet difficult to quantify in terms of value. However, as consumers, we’ve noticed more customized online advertising targeting our individual interests and tendencies, through use of advanced analytics and tracking.

One independent precision dealership is taking a simple approach to marketing in 2018 — monthly specials. The dealership is outlining a different deal each month, to include specific product discounts, hardware trade in offers or an open house.

Whatever approach dealers are taking to target customers with marketing technology products and services, they want to make sure they can measure the impact to justify the investment.

You can also learn more about some of the innovative marketing strategies dealers are deploying at the 2018 Dealership Minds Summit, coming up on July 25- 25 in Iowa City, Iowa.