The bull-buying season certainly is here, and I hope those who need some good replacement bulls are busy shopping. Like a good ice pond with way too many ice houses loaded with fishermen, who gets the fish (in this case, the bull) takes luck and good planning.
To start, for the money spent on bull advertising, two very important functions should occur. For the seller, the ad must attract buyers. For the buyer, the ad should provide some information about the bulls that are being offered for sale.
Two recent conversations make the points well. First, there is the beautiful ad that attracts people.
"From a graphic design standpoint, advertisers have to capture the interest of the reader," says Sheyna Strommen, communications director for a local livestock publication. "Photos cause people to stop and look at an ad much faster than a table of data because our eyes are drawn to images that appear on a page.
Corresponding data on that ad might inspire a potential buyer to call for a catalog. Some advertisers want to list so much data along with the photo that the font size becomes nearly illegible and too small for many people to read."
Likewise, an independent artificial insemination technician and breeding consultant, Dave Myhrum, says: "In discussing bulls in the bull catalog with producers, I tend to refer to breed trait averages printed at the bottom of each page as often as bull-to-bull comparisons. They are very helpful, so I completely agree with the idea of including breed and herd averages in sale catalogs and advertising. I'd hope that this would go some way in keeping the bull buyer focused on what needs to be focused on."
Both cases draw on the importance of the two points. A clear ad will attract people, and enough information and data in the ad also will add credibility.
"The best place for much of this data, in my opinion, is the sale catalog or flier, but pictures are still important to include in these marketing tools, from a graphic design standpoint, because they break up the page, give the eye some relief and make the data easier to digest," Strommen says.
Clearly, if one is to be in the bull business, time spent with professional marketers is critical. In the cattle business, herd health, nutrition, genetics and breeding all rely on professional advice to keep the herd in business, so marketing should be no different.
The breeder of the bull needs to make the best presentation possible to catch the buyers. On the other hand, the buyers need to be astute and well-informed to make good purchases.