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Photo from SA Sheep Expo's Facebook Page

Inspired by the highly successful SA Junior Heifer Expo, the SA Sheep Expo is a three day event that provides young people with a platform to develop a better understanding of the sheep industry, its opportunities, and to encourage the next generation to engage within the industry.

The event brings together young sheep enthusiasts (12-23 years of age) to discuss and learn about the skills and technologies now available to run successful and sustainable stud and commercial enterprises.

I was given the great honor this year to run 10 x 45 minute sessions across two days for the three different age groups focusing on Marketing Rams through digital and social media platforms.

Mallee Marketing was also one of the bronze sponsors of the 2023 event.

The Seniors and Intermediate age groups were tasked with a marketing assignment that I developed and marked contributing towards overall prizes and for the Senior winner a $4,500 NZ Study Tour bursary. Many thanks to Carolyn Johnson, Andrew Hall, Ellen Arney, committee members and plenty of other “adult helpers/parents” during the event who supported participants with their marketing assessments.

The Inter and Senior age groups were tasked with developing their own marketing plans. They followed the advice and frameworks offered in my workshops, which unpacked Mallee Marketing's signature strategic marketing blueprint (a simplified version!).

I asked the participants to place themselves in the position of a marketer and their client was the stud breeder of their sheep (a “Ram”). They mapped out a simple marketing plan and the seniors were also asked to create a video promotion and email campaign that they could present to the breeder to support the marketing of their individual “rams”.

The main takeaways from this exercise were effective marketing tactics, the steps taken, the strategic thought process, and the clarity that is gained from having a well thought out marketing plan in place.

I asked participants in the workshops, “what would happen if you started spending money on advertising without a plan on how you can best do it?” Answers from participants ranged from: “wasted money”, “it’s like gambling”, “you’ll go broke!” or “you won’t sell anything!”

I was really proud of the marketing plans that participants handed up especially because majority of them have had very little experience in the marketing and media field and some possibly have limited knowledge on sheep, how farming works or how farmers think - and we only had 45 minutes in a session to cover a fair range of foundations!

I was also grateful that the groups were being taught from livestock photography legend, Ian Turner, and that the core principles and skills learned in his workshop would translate over when they were to create their own marketing video promotions as part of the assignment.

During the marketing workshops we talked about:

  • The current state of the digital marketing industry worldwide, as well as its projected growth over the next three years. The digital advertising industry certainly isn’t slowing down and the Ag industry is really only just scratching the surface making the work I do extra exciting!

  • Attraction and Conversion Strategies: how the use of video and email marketing can make an impact in Ag and for Studs.

  • Understanding the product (their “Ram”) and the client/buyer needs

  • Social Media and Digital Platforms

  • How to make video promotions stand out

  • Marketing persuasion tips and tactics (we briefly touched on human Psychology and buying behavior's and decision making)

  • How to create a marketing pitch and an email campaign

  • What tools to use to help create video and email campaigns - participants had a go at using "CapCut" a mobile video editing app and "MailChimp" a free email / CRM platform.

  • Plus much more!

We covered a lot of material in 45 minutes, but I could tell that the participants were highly engaged and attentive based on the quality of the assignments they turned in.

A few examples from Senior assignments: “How’s your lamb survival? Say hello to a new era of rams: Jester Ram is THE solution for prime lamb producers looking for resilient animals during lambing. Have you had issues with lambs surviving during the harsh winters, how about the hot dry summers? Do you wish to have longer production lifetimes for breeding ewes? PinkFloyd Rams are selling Jester Rams specifically for these issues. These White Suffolk Rams are adaptable, structurally ideal and have good temperaments.” - Senior Participant, SA Sheep Expo.

Another marketing pitch example: “Wanting to improve not only fleece value but also increase your prime lamb profitability? Fleece quality, carcass emphasis and high fertility. The ultimate package deal when it comes to purchasing a Dohne ram. When it comes to selecting and purchasing rams, you want to select for genetic potential and visual quality to improve characteristics you'd like to focus on.” - Senior Participant, SA Sheep Expo.

And a headline example created from a senior that I thought was super. We discussed in the workshops what makes a marketing headline “clickable” or “scroll stopping”: “Make more from less with a Texel ram. The ultimate feed converter.”

I also really enjoyed sharing my career and business journey with participants as a marketing professional in the Ag industry.

My hope is that by showcasing the important role that marketing, communications, and the media play in agriculture, it will inspire individuals potentially interested in following a career in this space.

Feedback from a few participants when they handed up their assignments: “Thank you for your session yesterday it was quite informative and thinking like a marketer provides new insight into the industry.”

“Thank you for taking the time out of your day to help educate us kids involved in the SA sheep expo.”

To all of the organisers, helpers, caterers, sponsors, presenters, participants, and stud breeders who provided sheep and support for the week - THANK YOU for contributing to and bringing such a phenomenal event to South Australia for young people in the industry. Congratulations for navigating the difficulties of the last few years and well done for coming back bigger and stronger.

145 participants registered is incredible and I know some families travelled from interstate to attend as well.

And finally, a BIG congratulations to all winners, placegetters and participants on such a fantastic week of learning and experiences.

Published by Tegan Buckley Founder and CEO, Mallee Marketing Pty Ltd

Participants used some allocated time and their lunch breaks to complete their marketing plan assignments.

Sneaky selfie with participants in the background working hard on their marketing plans.

Behind the scenes snap of the legend himself, Ian Turner, working his magic behind the camera ft. entire 2023 SA Sheep Expo participants and committee.


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