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65: Josh Cobb: A Marketing Strategy That Still Dominates 130 Years Later

By |February 12, 2016| No Comments


Marketing in real estate today is harder than ever and it’s getting harder to cut through the clutter.

Our customers have hundreds of different channels they can go through to get information and if we don’t create something that’s interesting to them, they’re going to forget all about us and they’re going to go somewhere else.

In this episode of Real Estate Pros, you’ll hear the true rags-to-riches story of a 130-year-old company and how one of their marketing strategies – started all those years ago – still dominates their competition today.

The good news? There are very few real estate professionals doing it.

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This is the true story of a blacksmith called John.

The year was 1836 and a blacksmith called John made the tough decision to leave his family and travel west across the United States in search of fortune or, at the very least, a job. After a couple of weeks of travel, John set up camp in a little town called Grand Detour, Illinois – about two hours west of Chicago – and opened his blacksmith business.

Day after day, John would hear stories from local farmers about their struggles with working in the area as the soils were much harder for farming than in most other local regions. The farmers would continuously complain of soil quality compared to where they’d come from and how the ploughs they used simply weren’t efficient for farming in this area.

The farmers became frustrated, having to continuously clean the mud off their ploughs every few metres or so. John believed that if he could mould the outside of the plough and steel, that the farmers would not have to keep cleaning their ploughs all the time and become more efficient in their job and enjoy more profits.

So in 1837, John the blacksmith built the first ever polished plough using a broken saw blade. In the following months that passed, John would work with the local farmers and listen to their problems. John would continue to refine his work and later became one of the greatest inventors and businessmen of his time.

That man, was John Deere.

Even though John Deere passed away in 1886, his values of listening and teaching live strong today in the business he built. Deere and Company, arguably the most famous agricultural company in the world, launched, created and distributed a magazine called The Furrow, in 1895.A Marketing Strategy That Still Dominates 130 Years Later.

Deere & Co started The Furrow not to sell their products and services directly – as you would in a catalogue – but instead their mission for the magazine was to educate farmers on new technology and how they could be more successful business owners and farmers.

Now you might hear someone stand on stage and tell you their definition of content marketing – but, my friends, this example by John Deere is exactly what content marketing truly is.

From the beginning, The Furrow magazine wasn’t filled with promotional messages, ads or self-promotional content – it was developed by thoughtful journalists, storytellers and designers at Deere & Co and it covered topics that farmers cared about deeply.

The goal of the magazine was to make farmers become smarter and of course more profitable. Fast forward 120 years and The Furrow magazine is still going strong. It is the largest circulated farming magazine in the world, delivered monthly to over 1.5 million farmers, in 14 languages in 40 different countries.

John Deere is often talked about as one of the early pioneers of leveraging content marketing as part of a long-term business process. This is what can happen when we implement a content marketing strategy in our own businesses today.

Whether you’re just starting out in real estate, or a business of any size – focus on an area where you can really be the leading informational expert in your particular marketplace. When it comes to marketing in real estate today, people hate being sold to. The mass media sales approach does not work like it used to. Instead, stop thinking like a real estate company and start thinking like an education company.

John Deere did it, and look what happened to him – we’re still talking about them 130 years later.

Will people be able to say the same for your business in 130 years? I certainly hope they will.

Good luck.

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