The Science of Marketing Science
In the summer of 2017, I left Hollywood and headed back to my hometown of Selah in central Washington. It was to be a significant career change, transitioning my marketing company from entertainment to agriculture.
During my 18 years living in Los Angeles, I’d work with the likes of, 20th Century Fox, The Ellen Show, DreamWorks, Simon & Schuster and more. It is exciting pulling up to a studio for meetings, or having lunch with a network executive etc. But on the flip side, you also find yourself getting screamed at by studio executives for things like, not being able to get a T-shirt print shop to open two days before Christmas so that an Empire star can make a social media post …clearly a life or death situation. One meeting was so intense that my business partner was on the verge of throwing her shoe at Fox Studio’s VP of marketing. It was not a good meeting.
When Frank Hendrix approached me to help turn one of his scientific discoveries into a business, I was both honored and all in! I’d grown up with Frank’s children and his wife was one of my favorite high school teachers. This image is from my senior year where Kathi Hendrix was my advisor, inspiring me to win leadership competitions etc.
I’d always admired Frank, but it was the potential impact of his discovery that really excited me. A scientific discovery that addresses the beef industries’ biggest issue? The chance to elevate an entire industry that feeds billions of people?? What an opportunity.
My time in Los Angeles really opened my eyes to the fact that the science of agriculture is largely unknown. Food just happens! …if only. Not only does food not “just happen”, it couldn’t happen without science, continually evolving technology and dedicated farmers, cattleman etc.. But we don’t market the science of agriculture to consumers, we market the product, emphasizing the result of science. A sweet, crunchy apple is an apple you want to buy, an apple with enlarged sugar molecues developed in a lab, not so much!
So now I find myself in an interesting position. Tenet™ Beef is the first ever, DNA based certification. That’s pretty awesome, it's also pretty sciency, definately not a message that will work for consumers. Ultimately, it’s consumer demand that will drive industry demand for guaranteed tender beef, so who is my audience, how do we reach them and what is the activation?
Ultimately, our direct “consumer” is found within the beef industry. This will be less of a sell and more of an educational push. Frank didn’t just discover that markers could identify beef tenderness, he discovered that tenderness can be bred into cattle herds without genetic modifications. If you're in the cattle industry, that last sentence is worth reading out loud... this is a MAJOR discovery!!
Industry projections indicate that a Tenet™ certification could increase the value of individual cattle by $400 or more. So Frank, the forever authority on beef tenderness, will soon be part of several (yet to be announced) outreach projects via multiple communication platforms. The approach is innovative and exciting, promise!
But what about the hundreds of millions of consumers? Is our only option to rely on beef companies to market Tenet™ certified beef and hope they’re successful with consumers? This approach is far too passive for us. We are a very unique company in many ways, most unique in the product we provide, but also unique in that we have immense marketing capabilities. From strategy, branding, app development, web design, ad designs to creating animated videos and podcasts, we are in a position to do, in-house, what only larger companies and associations can do.
While we don't produce, process or distribute Tenet™ certified beef, we know there are many companies eager to jump in and be the first to offer guanranteed tender beef to consumers. What happens when the small guy with an amazing product gets access a top-teir marketing capabilities? We will find out! We plan to act as a marketing arm for these ranchers/companies wherever possible. Exciting conversations are already in the works that will allow for the strategic consumer marketing of Tenet™ certified beef.
Identified, not modified. This is Tenet™ Beef, and while we will make that distinction clear, the ultimate selling point for Tenet™ certified beef will be the incredible culinary experience, brought to you be a groundbreaking scientific discovery.
It's all very exciting! I'd trade a meeting at a studio for a meeting in a cow pasture ANY day.