There have been many changes to our lives lately because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The cancellation of farm shows all across North America is just one of them. The trouble for farm machinery brands is those shows have long been an important part of their marketing efforts as places where potential buyers get up close and personal with new machines.
Although most marketing representatives I’ve spoken to say there are no longer many sales of high-value equipment taking place on show grounds, it is long been a way for the brands to keep in touch with customers and debut new machines with a splash.
So, what to do if you have a new machine to show? The answer for some manufacturers is go digital. Case IH and AGCO are two brands that have introduced new online features meant to help them stay in touch with customers.
Case IH VX
Case IH describes it new Case IH VX as “a virtual platform and immersive brand experience for producers to see and learn about the latest equipment solutions and technology at any time, from anywhere. Case IH VX aims to reach producers during these exceptional times, highlighting the company’s commitment to developing equipment and solutions that meet the needs of today’s farmers. The virtual showcase offers a way for producers to experience and learn more about Case IH technology and equipment solutions for any phase of farming.…”
At a glance: CASE IH and AGCO have created digital showrooms for farmers so they can see and learn about new products at their own pace and from the comfort and safety of their homes.
“Shows and events are an important way we connect with farmers,” said Sy Stevens, Case IH brand marketing communications manager, in a press release. “That’s why we’re excited to offer an opportunity to conveniently experience Case IH equipment during any season of farming. Just like any in-person show, Case IH VX offers the ability for producers to learn about and experience a wide range of equipment solutions at their own pace and in the comfort of their own home.”
The website includes a series of video clips related to specific features of Case IH equipment. Pick your machine and then click on any of the features for a fuller explanation by a product specialist.
To add a little more of that farm show feel, the brand also offers “exclusive giveaways” and a few of the kinds of special offers usually only found while walking the grounds at a show.
AGCO virtual showroom
For its part, AGCO has pushed forward plans to create a more extensive digital experience because of the pandemic.
“An online AGCO showroom has been planned for some time, but the coronavirus prompted us to push up our timeline because many in-person events have been cancelled this year,” said Lauren Dejmal, manager of event marketing. “Now that it’s available, people who would have attended those events, as well as anyone else, can explore countless AGCO products from the comfort, safety and convenience of their homes and mobile devices.”
At AGCOvirtualshowroom.com, virtual visitors can also explore the brand’s factory and unique Intivity Center facility in Jackson, Minn., see 360-degree views of equipment, watch product videos, download brochures, submit requests and even visit the company merchandise store.
“The best thing about this format is not being limited by space, location, travel concerns or even the weather,” said Aaron Belanger, farm show manager. “Logistical concerns simply don’t exist here: this virtual showroom will hold every product we manufacture and allow anyone to explore them at any time, on any day.”
How the farming public responds to this and what, if any, long-term impact these digital experiences will have on farm shows when they eventually resume remains to be seen. Will the video game equivalent of kicking real tractor tires be enough to satisfy the majority? It’s hard to say, but in the meantime, it’s about all we have.