How do you turn an early adoption program into a massive marketing effort? You start by building a community that creates product confidence — and in turn, product sales.
In 2008, Deltapine developed the New Product Evaluator (NPE) Program, a novel approach for enlisting cotton growers to evaluate pre-commercial variety candidates. The challenge was taking an R&D-driven initiative and turning it into a marketing vehicle to drive more confidence among growers for Deltapine, leading to more sales.
Approximately 200 growers are involved in the NPE Program, representing all corners of the U.S. Cotton Belt. These growers provide valuable, real-farm feedback about new Deltapine variety performance. As the NPE Program was set in motion, it was apparent the NPE growers were proud of their NPE plot evaluation responsibilities due to the large-scale trials they were conducting and the importance of testing new products. We decided to leverage the NPE Program for these growers to put an “NPE-proven” stamp of approval on new Deltapine varieties launched, which would drive demand.
We created testimonials with growers and conducted interviews with media. As the growers became comfortable being spokespeople for the Deltapine brand, the NPE Program became a key component of the marketing strategy. An annual NPE Summit was created to bring together the NPE growers, their spouses and the Deltapine team in December — after NPE plot evaluations had concluded — to hear first which variety candidates would be named as commercial products. Media was also invited to attend the event to capture the varietal launch news and talk with NPE growers.
Since the NPE Program began, Deltapine has become the #1-planted brand of cotton in the U.S.The regular communication of NPE growers’ real-world feedback on variety performance has elevated the confidence level other growers have in Deltapine productsThe words “NPE-proven” now mean something to the industry, in no small part due to the communication efforts and the ambassadorship instilled within the growers themselvesThe most recent 2018 NPE Summit event generated more than 35 stories across print, digital and radio for a total impression count of 19,617,612The NPE Summit has become a key generator of Deltapine coverage in the ag media during peak seed decision time for growers, helping to keep the brand top of mind as they choose seed for the next season