During the Manitoba Ag Days show in Brandon last month, I had a chance to sit in on a presentation by John Gehrer, an entrepreneur who created the Never Spill Spout for grain augers. His presentation was meant to give budding inventors the benefit of hearing about his experiences turning an on-farm invention into a viable sideline business.
Gehrer’s presentation was both entertaining and informative as he detailed the process he went through developing his business. His hope was that he could help others who want to do the same to avoid some of the pitfalls.
Learning how to market his product was one of the areas Gehrer touched on. And during the presentation and in a conversation I had with him afterward, he mentioned that marketing was something he found he needed to learn about. After a decade of talking to inventors and visiting them at their trade show booths at shows like Ag Days, I’d have to say that is one of the most common areas I’ve found inventors lack experience and skill in. Inventing and marketing are two entirely different disciplines, and many in my experience don’t seem to really understand marketing—at least initially.
As Gehrer pointed out, getting publicity from newspaper and magazine articles is one of the lowest-cost, most effective ways in getting a product talked about in public. But as I’ve seen, it’s something amateur inventors often aren’t willing to get involved in. Many times I’ve stopped by new product displays at shows only to have the people behind them be completely uninterested in talking to anyone from the media about their product.
That kind of blows my mind, because it’s absolutely free publicity. Other times I get the question, “How much will this cost me”, when I ask if they’d do an interview. Well, the answer to that is no reputable editor will ever charge any amount of money to create a legitimate editorial article.
I think for many when someone from the media stops by to ask questions it conjures up those TV images of a W5 camera crew ambushing some shady businessperson in a parking lot. Then hitting him or her with a bunch of questions he or she doesn’t want to answer.
But no legitimate inventor or businessperson who has a product they believe in should ever be afraid to talk to an editor about what they’re selling. In fact, they should literally jump over their display table and grab hold of him to make sure he doesn’t leave without a story.
Maybe the catchphrases coming from the U.S. president these days have heightened the sense that “the media is the enemy of the people”, because as unbelievable as it is to say, he has said exactly that from the White House multiple times. And his flagrant misuse of the term “fake news” is another shameful example of his inappropriate comments.
The reality is reputable ag news outlets here in Canada, the U.S. or elsewhere do not even remotely fall into the category of being fake or an enemy of the people. We’re all here to bring our readers honest, truthful ag news and information. In fact, our primary consideration when preparing editorial content for you to read is the truth, accuracy and honesty of it.
If you are looking for reliable information, that’s what we in the ag media are here to give you. And if you’re trying to market a product you’ve invented, believe in and are willing to stand behind, don’t be afraid to talk to us. It’ll be worth your while. I can pretty much guarantee it.
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