by Tyler Dean, Junior and Shows Coordinator
International Brangus Breeders Association
In management and decision-making, according to Wikipedia, buy-in (as a verb or noun) signifies the commitment of interested or affected parties to a decision (often called stakeholders) to ‘buy into’ the decision, that is, to agree to give it support, often by having been involved in its formulation.
You might be questioning how this has anything to do with the cattle business and especially with our Journal’s focus on marketing and promotion. My response – it has everything to do with any successful marketing or promotion campaign. Even more, it has huge ramifications in the seedstock business in today’s world.
Today’s commercial producers are more educated than ever before. They have an unlimited stockpile of resources available to them via the internet, and they are using those resources to make their decisions. They are no longer just merely looking for a bull to turn out on some cows. They want to know how the bull has been raised, what performance tests he has been subjected to, how he compares to his contemporaries and how he compares to another ranch’s animals.
Marketing and promotion is essential to get these producers to look at your operation as their source for genetics; however, without them “buying-into” your operation, your development programs and your customer services, they probably won’t be loyal, repeat customers.
As stated, marketing and promotion is integral to getting customers to your doorstep, but how do you start them on the path to buying into your operation? Well, the first step is explaining your operation, your goals, your production practices and the services you provide. Show them your data, your research and why your practices are working. Give them examples of other successful customers.
Next you must follow up with them. Make sure the genetics they obtained from you are working in their given production structure. You must let them know you are genuinely concerned about their success.
Lastly, you have to adjust your program based on the feedback you receive. A “take it or leave it” attitude just will not work in today’s world. Customers have too many options to put up with that kind of philosophy. If your customers can brag about how great their genetic supplier is to their neighbor and how much you have helped them be successful, that is the pinnacle of customer buy-in.
The same can be said about our association on all levels. Without buy-in from our Board of Directors, policies and procedures do not get passed and disseminated to our membership effectively. The same can be said about the lack of buy-in from our staff. Without buy-in from our breeders, those policies and procedures become a source of duress and dissension. Thorough communication among all parties is imperative. That is why the IBBA has developed a strategic plan and implemented specific goals and objectives to guide the association and decision making. It serves as an open communication system to the Board of Directors, the staff, membership and our customers and allows everyone to see where the association’s priorities lie. Without buy in from every angle, goals will not be achieved and the breed will decline and suffer simply from a lack of buy in. Are we not all on the same team? Do we all not want to see the breed progress and our members succeed?
As breeders, I encourage each and every one to be involved in the workings of our association and go ALL IN on this great breed. The future holds a lot of promise for our great breed if we can pull together and position ourselves as THE choice for the rebuilding the American cowherd.
This article was previously published in the October 2013 issue of the Brangus Journal. Tyler Dean writes a column in each issue. You can read more of Tyler’s columns as well as the Brangus Journal online.