Agriculture reigns supreme in Nebraska. Acres and acres of farmland cover the Great Plains state. Giant, robotic pivot irrigation systems crawl across the landscape night and day. Selling and maintaining these systems is what Central Valley Irrigation in Holdrege, Nebraska has been doing since 1980. Jeremiah Johnson, a longtime employee, took over leadership of the company at the start of the New Year. He continues to use radio to grow the business that keeps the crops growing in the Cornhusker state.
Radio Ink: Why do you use radio to reach the ag community?
Johnson: My interest came from the previous owner who passed down the tradition of using radio, specifically with KRVN out of Lexington. It’s just something that we have always done. If you turn on that station at any given time you are pretty much going to hear about any one of the local irrigation companies that are always advertising. It’s kind of part of who we are and people are expecting to hear one of our voices telling them what we got going on, what we are promoting at that point in time. Here at Central Valley, probably 90 percent of our advertising is done through radio.
We actually made some cuts here the first of the year. We cut out all of our paper advertising. That really seems to be going away. We really put our focus on the radio.
Farmers around might not be listening to the radio all the time, but when its time for the weather or markets you can bet that they are tuning into KRVN for that.
Radio Ink: What type of ads do you run?
Johnson: We had a marketing agency that wrote all of our ads. We just didn’t have what I would call an alignment with them. When I took over the business it became very clear to me that we beat to a different drum. So we parted ways, the first of the year.
I told my wife during a snow day at home that I’m really busy but can you write some radio ads. I gave her some examples of some or our old ads. I came home and she had written five of them. I looked at them, tweaked them a bit, making some small changes, but the gist of the ads she wrote were still there; so I recorded them all.
Radio Ink: Is it the flexibility and speed of radio that you like?
Johnson: Yes, I went in and recorded five ads. The guys at KRVN were amazing. You know we could call the station today and tell them what ads we wanted to run the next day and it would be done. Each ad has an ID number, we tell them that and boom, it happens, it happens fast! We really appreciate that. We say we are service based, well in that regard so is the radio station.
Radio Ink: How do you know radio is working for you?
Johnson: I don’t know how anybody can really answer that. I mean it’s that way with all advertising. Once in awhile I have a customer say they heard our ad, or they would say I heard your voice on the radio. With that said, I’ve taken informal polls of customers that I’m really close to, asking them what is the main way that you have heard about our business. Is it a postcard, letter in the mail, or the newspaper, or this or that? Every time they will always tell me it is radio.
We have taken short surveys before when we hold an open house, simple three-question surveys on their table: How did you hear about us? If it’s radio, what station? It is always overwhelming; it is radio and KRVN.
Radio Ink: What advice do you have for someone considering radio advertising?
Johnson: Give it a chance. You’d be surprised the number of people that come in who listen to the radio. They’re coming in saying I heard you on the radio. You know if you’re hitting that guy with your message, how many others are you reaching that aren’t saying anything? It’s something that has become part of the tradition here. I would say just give it a chance and it may become a tradition for them too.