Delaware Farm Bureau marketing campaign boosts sales of locally grown produce

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The Delaware Farm Bureau’s 24-week digital campaign to market the state’s specialty crops not only educated consumers about the benefits of locally grown specialty crops, but compelled them to put more Delaware-grown fruits and vegetables in their shopping carts. .

The campaign ran for two years, running for 12 weeks at a time, and was funded by a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant through the Delaware Department of Agriculture. Seeking to connect with consumers in the digital space, Delaware Farm Bureau worked with iHeartMedia, which helped them create eye-catching images that were used on social media platforms, web banners and the app. iHeartMedia.

Credit: Delaware Farm Bureau, used with permission

The ads were designed to let consumers know where their food comes from and where they can buy fresh produce near them. Each of the 22 edible crops, such as strawberries, eggplants and pears, were highlighted for a week. Christmas trees, the only inedible agricultural product, were on display for two weeks.

While digital and targeted to a non-farm audience, the campaign has also helped Farm Bureau connect with its members, according to Delaware Farm Bureau marketing coordinator Mikayla Paul.

Members were thrilled to hear and see the literal fruits (and vegetables) of their work being promoted. They also attributed increased sales at farmers’ markets and farm stands to the campaign’s broad reach of 25,000 consumers, made even more effective by iHeartMedia’s location-based targeting.

Delaware Farm Bureau has also used the visuals created by iHeartMedia on its own platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and its website.

Credit: Delaware Farm Bureau, used with permission

Through a weekly survey on the website, consumers answered questions about what they had learned about the featured product and whether they had purchased the featured product of the week after hearing or seeing the advertisements. Consumers who participated in the survey were eligible to win a $100 gift card.

Overall survey results indicated that 97% of consumers knew more about the crops promoted by the Delaware Farm Bureau. Ninety-five percent of survey participants intended to eat more crops, and 91 percent said they ate more of a particular crop that week after hearing or seeing an ad.

“We’ve been very successful in connecting with consumers and teaching them about specialty crops, the benefits of eating them, and where they can be purchased at local markets or farm stands,” Paul said.

This type of feedback is particularly helpful in showing the USDA how well the grant was working, she added.

Credit: Delaware Farm Bureau, used with permission

During the two summers of the program, Paul and other Delaware Farm Bureau staff visited many member farms and farm stands. They briefed campaign members and also shared photos of their visits on Facebook and Instagram, which helped the farmers get more social media followers and customers. Their posts contained information about the USDA grant and the featured farm and were linked to a county-by-county list of farms throughout the state.

The campaign also included audio spots aired on the iHeartRadio app and 94.7WDSD, a local iHeartMedia affiliate. Because the spots included farmers representing each of the 23 featured products, they were another way for the Delaware Farm Bureau to engage with its members while connecting consumers with the people who grow their food — and the Christmas trees.

The Delaware Farm Bureau’s marketing campaign earned the organization a 2022 New Horizon Award from the American Farm Bureau Federation. The award, which honors state agricultural bureaus with the most innovative new programs, is presented annually at the AFBF annual convention.

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