Market in Motion Blog


Financial Advisors Could Learn About Marketing From John Deere

Content, General Marketing 0 Comments

john deere financial advisor marketing

John Deere tractors and farming machinery have a reputation as being the best in their category. Founded in 1837, the iconic green and yellow brand is instantly recognizable even to those who have never set foot on a farm or a ranch. How did such a functional and perfunctory product earn such a prominent place in our collective culture?

On top of a quality product and world-class customer support, John Deere holds an important position in the history of content marketing. In 1895, John Deere launched one of the first recognized examples of branded media in the form of an agriculture interest magazine called The Furrow. The publication was distributed to farmers with informational articles on farming technology and strategy all aimed at increasing its audience’s productivity and profitability.

What lessons could a financial advisor looking to establish their brand in the marketplace take from John Deere’s history of value-based content marketing?

#1 Understand Your Audience

The Furrow’s stated goal was to provide “practical information devoted to the interests of better farming.” The magazine is famous for not being a sales piece but a truly informational offering. In order to provide that level of valuable insight, the creators of the furrow first had to understand the people to whom they were speaking.

Farmers, like any niche, are unique. They have their own interests and stressors. They are focused on a certain type of current event, a certain aspect of business culture, a particular view of our modern system. The writers and producers of The Furrow have spent the last 123 years exploring the mindset of their clients and doing their best to tackle the questions farmers want answered most.

john deere financial advisor marketing

An advisor looking to establish themselves as a thought-leader in a certain niche must think of their prospects and clients as an audience. It is important that the advisor take the time to understand the pain points, opportunities for gain, and recurring challenges that that audience faces.

There are many strategies for learning more about your audience’s needs. The simplest and most time-honored strategy is, of course, to simply ask them. Keeping the lines of communication open with your prospects and clients through interviews, phone calls, social posting, and even surveys can provide you with valuable insights into what topics they see as most important.

Websites like Answer The Public and Quora are also powerful tools when researching which questions an audience is asking.

#2 Give Without Expectations

One of the most effective aspects of The Furrow’s presentation is the fact that it is not obviously branded as a John Deere publication. Even today, the only indication of the magazine’s source of the content is a small line of text at the very bottom of the home page that says “A John Deere Publication.”

By not covering the magazine with promotional pictures and material, The Furrow’s perceived value is not only increased, but the audience that receives it is drawn into a gift-giving relationship, which is the basis of relationship marketing.

Relationship marketing has its roots in the idea of a gift economy. This concept dates back to World War I when anthropologists observed a ceremonial exchange system conducted in the Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea. The practice involved individuals from as many as 18 tribes embarking on long and treacherous canoe rides with the goal of exchanging armbands and necklaces with one another.

The exchange of gifts would proceed the bartering of other more vital items. Anthropologists who observed the exchange struggled to answer the question: “Why would men risk life and limb to travel across huge expanses of dangerous ocean to give away what appear to be worthless trinkets?”

Papua New Guinea tribe financial advisor marketing

The answer lies in a trait that Evolutionary Biologists refer to as Direct Reciprocity. It is a survival mechanism that allows two players in an evolutionary game to establish a long-term relationship when exchanging value, even if defecting from the relationship would be beneficial in the short term.

The ‘spirit of the gift’ is a desire that arises in an individual who receives a gift. They begin to search for ways to reciprocate the gift in an almost unconscious effort to keep the beneficial relationship alive and active.

Much like the trinkets exchanged by the tribesmen, The Furrow evokes a desire for reciprocity in its audience. John Deere’s minimally invasive branding of their magazine transformed it from a piece of marketing material into a valuable gift they share with the community whom with they want to do business.

Advisors can use this very same strategy. When an advisor consistently provides their clients with value-laden gifts that positively affect the recipients well being, they too will evoke ‘the spirit of the gift’. Like John Deere does with The Furrow, the most valuable gift an advisor can give is insightful and instructive content.

#3 Invest in Communication Technology

Over the century and a quarter it has run, The Furrow has gone through many changes. It has kept pace with the technological advancements in communication that have shaped our world. John Deere never shied away from wading into new and sometimes costly technologies that allowed it to communicate at its maximum capacity.

john deere financial advisor amrketing

In 1912 The Furrow was at its peak level of distribution, reaching an estimated 4 million readers. Rather than rest on its laurels, John Deere invested over $35,000 (the equivalent of over $900,000 today) in a two-color press, the height of printing technology at the time. The new machinery let them improve the quality of their offering and reach an even wider audience.

As we approach 2019, the rate at which communication technology is evolving can sometimes feel overwhelming. It is important that advisors spend the time, effort, and money to stay current with communication technology and strategy.

Over the last decade, social media has become one of the most important avenues of engagement. Platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook offer an advisor unparalleled access to their audience and give them the ability to deliver insight laden content directly to those who are most interested in it.

Our suite of marketing tools and content is a simple yet powerful way that an advisor can invest in their own communication capabilities. By using the best communication technology available, advisors can improve the relationship with their audience and see the kind of success that has been a hallmark of John Deere’s business for almost two centuries.

Related Content

Back to blog list

Join Discussion

Still Have Questions?

You've Been April Fooled!

While we can't help you with your wardrobe (sorry), we can help you become an amazing marketer. Click below to check out some of our latest resources. And thanks for playing!

Make Me a Great Marketer

Become a Marketing Master

Sign up for our marketing e-newsletter to receive marketing tips for financial professionals, including exclusive whitepapers, broadcast invites, and other content.

Privacy Policy

Get a Sample Email Campaign

The best way to experience FMG Suite Campaigns is to receive one the same way that your clients and prospects receive them — in your email inbox. Let us send you one today!

Privacy Policy

Get 1 Month Free

Receive your first month of our Monthly Market Insights campaign for free.

Privacy Policy

Experience The FMG Suite Difference!

Tell us a little about yourself and an expert will reach out to you and walk you through our award winning automated marketing platform.

Privacy Policy

Experience The FMG Suite Difference!

Tell us a little about yourself and an expert will reach out to you and walk you through our award winning automated marketing platform.

Privacy Policy

How is Your Business Listed?

Check the consistency of your online business information with help from our listings scan.

Enter business information to scan below:

Business Name *
Street Address *
City *
State *
Phone *
Scan Now

Want to kick the tires first?
Check out our Free 7-day Trial.
No credit card required to start.

Privacy Policy

Get Started with Copywriting

An expert will reach out right away to help you craft your content

Privacy Policy

Learn More About Pre-Designed Pages

Enter your contact info below and an expert will be in touch soon.

Privacy Policy

Get Started with Custom Video

An expert will reach out right away to help you create your content

Privacy Policy

Let's Build Your Suite

An expert will reach out right away to help you build your suite!

Privacy Policy

A Truly Free 7-Day Trial

No Credit Cards. No Downloads. No Commitments. No Strings Attached.

Sign up now and you’ll be up and running on our integrated and automated marketing platform in a matter of minutes.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Copywriting Sample

Distill Your Niche

"...while they can’t turn back the clock and address these issues beforehand - such as increasing their spouse’s life insurance or saving more - there are ways to take control and feel more confident in their future.
When working with widows, there are a few first steps I recommend taking:

1. Get Organized
Whether or not you handled all of your family’s finances, some, or none, the first step is to organize your financial documents. Before you can determine how to budget and what steps to take, you have to first understand where you stand financially. If you are having trouble translating your investment account statements, a financial advisor can help you understand what your documents mean. You’ll want to copy and safeguard your important documents and review life insurance policies with a trusted advisor.

2. Budget for a Single Income
More than half of widows have difficulty adjusting to a single income. This may because they haven’t reevaluated their bills and expenses and adjusted..."

View Complete Sample

Copywriting Sample

Consistent Messaging

"...Once we understand your family’s current circumstances, goals, and unique needs, we develop strategies to help preserve and potentially grow your wealth and take over the time-consuming tasks associated with managing your complex financial affairs. Working with a family office can benefit families in a number of ways, including:

  • Preserving wealth through proactive management and appropriate strategies
  • Mitigating risk by diversifying investments
  • Assisting with the transfer of wealth from one generation to the next through strategic asset allocation and estate planning..."

View Complete Sample

Copywriting Sample

Unique Articles in Your Voice

"...More than likely, you have a clear understanding of your relationship with your doctor or your dentist. You pay a fee and, in return, you receive a service, including advice and recommendations based on your individual situation. It would make sense then for your relationship with your financial advisor to be the same; but for many, that’s not the case.

At Financial Guideposts, we’ve noticed a trend: that the general public does not understand the relationship they have with their financial advisor. We want to change that. We believe there are two critical aspects you should understand when working with a financial advisor: how he or she gets paid and what services he or she provides..."

View Complete Sample
FMG Suite