John Deere Gets Down to Dirt in Their New Video Campaign

John Deere Gets Down to Dirt in Their New Video Campaign. And what they discovered was simple, but powerful: smaller farms don’t see equipment the same way bigger farms do. “Our persona research suggested there are some key differences between people who are farming at a small scale — especially those who are relatively new to farming — compared to the large, established family farms that you might typically think of when someone says ‘farming.’” said the Dealer Development Manager for John Deere Canada during an interview. This also allowed us to validate the research and personas in the marketplace.” John Deere worked with Nicole Strong at Quarry to build out a revolutionary idea — instead of making marketing collateral to appeal to this smaller-scale audience, what if they put tractors, and cameras, in the hands of these smaller scale farmers, and asked them to tell their own story? So for this campaign, John Deere’s Dealer Development Manager and the team took this one step further, and decided to show people who had never touched a tractor before just how much of an impact it would have on their lives. We didn’t tell them what story to tell us, we wanted that to come from them. It really facilitated great collaboration.” Since no campaign should be complete without some measure of success, we wanted to know what the key goals were for this campaign before John Deere and Quarry decided to start handing out cameras and tractors. Creating an innovative campaign for an audience John Deere had never marketed to before was hard enough, but how did “Get Down to Dirt” perform against expectations? “John Deere is a company of stories. Marketing towards a new market — in this case younger families who are new to farming — is never easy, and there aren’t many examples of success stories as powerful as this one.

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Every company has a target market, right? Whether it’s selling leather jackets to motorcycle riders, or flippers to scuba divers, knowing your audience is the first key to success. But what happens when you uncover an audience that you didn’t know you had? And more importantly, what happens when your traditional marketing messaging just won’t cut it?

That’s when it’s time to get creative, and that’s exactly what John Deere did with their Get Down to Dirt campaign.

The Backstory

If you’ve never heard of John Deere – well, to be honest, I’m more surprised than anything. Starting out as Deere & Company in 1804, and continuing to this day, John Deere has been manufacturing farming, construction, and forestry equipment for literally two centuries. They’re one of the oldest companies in North America, and just about every farm in the country has a John Deere tractor working somewhere on site.

But John Deere was not content to rest on its laurels – and to understand whether there were any markets they were missing out on, the company’s Canadian office worked with Quarry to create their buyer personas. And what they discovered was simple, but powerful: smaller farms don’t see equipment the same way bigger farms do. So how do you target this new breed of farmer? Don’t tell – show. Or better yet, get real people to show them for you. Thus, “Get Down to Dirt” was born.

“Our persona research suggested there are some key differences between people who are farming at a small scale — especially those who are relatively new to farming — compared to the large, established family farms that you might typically think of when someone says ‘farming.’” said the Dealer Development Manager for John Deere Canada during an interview. “This campaign used our understanding of some of those differences to craft stories that we hoped would resonate with smaller scale farmers. We wanted to communicate that ‘we get you’ in an authentic way. Videos of real farm families, telling their stories and in their own words fit the bill. This also allowed us to validate the research and personas in the marketplace.”

John Deere worked with Nicole Strong at Quarry to build out a revolutionary idea — instead of making marketing collateral to appeal to this smaller-scale audience, what if they put tractors, and cameras, in the hands of these smaller scale farmers, and asked them to tell their own story?

“We know that when you’re buying a piece of equipment like a tractor, often you buy it because there is a specific job you want to do, like dig a hole to build a fence or work up a patch of yard for a garden. What was really cool is that through this program, buyers had the opportunity to discover all sorts of new things that they could accomplish. It was bigger than the tractor and the tasks they could now complete (or complete faster or easier),” said our contact at John Deere. The campaign featured five families, working on everything from smaller hobby farms to larger homestead renovation projects, and it turned traditional vehicle marketing on its head. Rather than simply telling farmers what a John Deere tractor could do for them, they let the families figure it out for themselves. And it worked like a charm. “They started to imagine new possibilities for what they could do with their land — they developed a new outlook on their farm.”

So how did this campaign come to be? And what did John Deere learn from the experience? Let’s dive deeper into the interview, and find out!

Creating “Get Down to Dirt”

At Vidyard, we often preach that the best people to share the story of how your product shapes the lives of your customers is… well… your customers. So for this campaign, John Deere’s Dealer Development Manager and the team took this one step further, and decided to show people who had never touched a tractor before just how much of an impact it would have on their lives.

“We gave each farmer an iPad Mini with 3G connection and a lesson on how to use it. The…

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