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American Business Media case study

"Tired of seeing animal rights activists and back-to-the-earth advocates control the spotlight unchallenged," the American Business Media's case study on Mike Smith's For the Record: Straight Talk about Antibiotic Use in Agriculture explains, "the Animal Health division of Alpharma Inc. did a 360 when it changed tactics completely. ...Alpharma had plenty of options for advertising its agricultural product lines, but felt it was losing ground in the debate over animal health and food safety. ...the success of the [For the Record] program lies in large part with the fact that while Alpharma underwrites the project and gets some marketing exposure expecially via the e-letter, it is an issues-oriented media venture, not a hard--or even soft--sell."

Distrubuted by Vance publishing through its livestock-producer trade verticals, the quarterly four-page For the Record pushed back against the growing "concensus science" that use of Alpharma's products and other antibiotic products in livestock production posed a meaningful risk to the health of food consumers. Although nothing could be further from the truth, misinformation from activists was being widely circulated with little or no effective response from a sometimes timid agricultural community.

"I think For the Record represented a fundamental shift at the time that was way ahead of the rest of agriculture, and Alpharma deserves credit for showing the courage it did," says Washington, D.C., ag-regulatory expert and lobbyist Steve Kopperud. "While so many traditional ag companies and ag communicators were running away from the controversy, Alpharma actively chose to turn and run toward it."

"They certainly took a risk, because there could have been a backlash both at the customer level for drawing too much attention the controversy, and at the consumer level," the ABM case study quotes Smith. "But I also think For the Record is a good example of how a custom project can more intimately connect you with your market. It's not a sales piece at all, but it has earned Alpharma a load of customer goodwill for having the backbone to stand up to the critics. And among readers it's improved the level of knowlege of the issue about 95 percent."

To read the entire ABM case study on For the Record, click here (Acobe Acrobat format).

Click here to read samples of For the Record.

ABM custom publications


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This 10-year project began as a 4-page printed insert into the livestock books of Vance Publishing, eventually evolving into direct-mails, newsletter and website campaign, and spearheaded Alpharma's public- and industry-relations efforts to combat intrusive antibiotic regulation and legislation. Click here to read it.

Want to really earn customer loyalty?
Stand up on their behalf when it counts

Important scientific advances that had languished in the relative obscurity of self-produced MicrosoftWord-ism for a decade came to new life with a powerful graphic redesign and editing by Mike Smith, making Colorado State's Diagnostic Labs the envy of its industry. Click here to view a sample (Adobe Acrobat format).

Speak like a scientist; look like a million bucks

Food-Chain Communications helped bring the farmer's message to the retail grocers of four midwestern states by contracting Mike Smith to write, design and execute its "Farmer Goes to Market" campaign, consisting of individualized monthly state e-mail newsletters and collaterol customized websites. And the results? Message open and clickthrough rates two to three times higher than industry averages. That's meaningful engagement.

Bring disparate audiences together to support your marketing message? Here's how it's done.

When Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica needed to keep its time-strapped and geographically far-flung sales and distributor force updated on critical product and marketing updates, Mike Smith's design, writing and execution of the monthly digital newsletter "The BriefCASE" kept it quick, easy and meaningful. Click here for samples.

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Ag marketers use print magazines at a rate nearly two-thirds higher than the average marketer, with just under seven in 10 saying they still make use of magazines in some way. Why? Fewer and fewer farmers every year taking a larger and larger market share means today's ag customer requires a long-duration sales cycle emphasizing after-sale nurturing and focus on long-term customer value. Targeting the existing customer base makes print content a natural customer-retention tool.
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