How John Deere Invented Content Marketing

“Nothing runs like a Deere”

It’s the famous slogan that belongs to John Deere Tractors. 

John Deere earned $37,357,700 in revenue in 2018.  On September 3, 2019, it’s stock was worth $150.44 a share.   

In 2013, the company employed 67,000 people worldwide.  

A highly successful company, John Deere has a secret contributing to its success…

But First, some history. 

The John Deere company was started by John Deere in a small blacksmith shop in 1837.   Farmers would complain the plows they were able to buy were made for the softer east coast sandy soil, and they weren’t able to plow through the thicker prairie soil.  

He saw a hole in the market, and used it as an opportunity to create a tractor that was able to plow through the prairie soil. 

From a small idea, John Deere has grown into a massive fortune 500 company that sells tractors and employs people all over the world.  

Here’s the John Deere Secret…

John Deere was ahead of its time.  They used Content Marketing to reach their customers.

In 1895, Charles Deere created the company magazine, called The Furrow, in an effort to reach a broader audience.  

In 1896, the post office started delivering to rural areas for free, and Deere wanted to leverage this new way to reach his customers by sending the magazine directly to their door, free of charge.

The Furrow has been published consistently since its creation, and Charles Deere and the John Deere company has been credited for the first use of Content Marketing. 

According to a survey of The Furrow’s readers, 40% read every word of the magazine, including ads.  

An Old Business Strategy Gets a Shiny New Name

Content Marketing is not a new concept.  In fact, it’s been used by other well known brands for over 100 years.  

Soap operas were created to sell Oxydol soap to housewives.  Hence the name “soap” opera.

Nestle Toll House chocolate chips cleverly added their famous chocolate chip cookie recipe to the back a package of their chocolate chips. 

G.I. Joe action figures were created for the sole purpose of selling G.I. Joe comic books.  The leaders at Hasbro toys thought that if kids had action figures to play with, they would want to read the comics that starred their favorite action figures.

Lego created a magazine to encourage kids to buy legos. 

These are just a few examples of the many companies that successfully use Content Marketing throughout the years to reach their audience and sell their products.  

5 Common Myths about Content Marketing

1. I’ve Tried This Before and It Hasn’t Worked

Content Marketing is not a short term sprint.  It’s a marathon, with many twists, turns, hills, and valleys. You’ve got to be flexible to follow the road ahead.

You need to make an informed decision, try it out, measure your results, keep what’s working, and scrap what’s not.  

Rinse and repeat. 

2. Content Marketing is Just a Fad

Content Marketing has been around for a long time.  But it was just called marketing.  

Something that’s been around for a few hundred years is not just a fad.  Studies project that Content Marketing will continue to be used by businesses in the future.  

Content Marketing used to give you a competitive edge.  Now it’s essential to even compete in the same arena.

3. You Can’t Prove Return on Investment (ROI)

Content Marketing needs time to work.  By using Google Analytics or some other analytic software to track your numbers, over time, you will see an increase in traffic.  

You will also see your customers are more engaged with your brand.  Social sharing allows your customers to market for you by spreading the word through social media. 

4.  It Won’t Work for Your Boring Industry 

Almost everyone has a passion about something.  It’s what makes life worth living.  

Ever heard of a math geek?  There’s an entire industry that revolves around math.

Most people find math boring as hell. But to some people, it’s their true passion.

If there’s a magazine for it, there’s an audience.  And most likely, your industry has geeks of its own. 

5.  Traditional Marketing is What has Always Worked – There’s no Need to Change

This logic is flawed, because everything is constantly changing.  

If you can’t be flexible and adjust, you’ll be left behind. 10 years ago, you could get away without having a website.  

In today’s market, if you don’t have a website, no one will want to do business with you.  Instead, people will do business with the business that does.  

And that’s because people like to research businesses before they buy from them.  And research products before they buy.

What is Content Marketing?

Content Marketing is the use of “content” that attracts, informs, and entertains your prospective customers.  It also helps you sell your product.  

Content can be blog posts, articles, guides, ebooks, videos, podcasts, pictures, and more.

“Content Marketing is the creation and distribution of editorial content for commercial use by non-media companies. 

Although the first successful examples of content marketing date back more than 100 years, the Internet has given it new meaning. Direct contact with customers opens up new communication opportunities for companies, but places great demands on the content provided.”  Mar 2016DOI: 10.15358/1613-0669-2016-1-48, Benedikt Berger Johanna Staffler Thomas Hess

So What Does this Mean for you as a Business Owner?

1. Your Customers Have the Power – So Treat them Well

Julia McCoy of the Content Marketing Institute explains why Content Marketing has become such an important part of a company’s marketing strategy.  

Your customers are smart and they are engaged.  They are tired of the old spammy techniques that used to work, and they can see right through them. 

They want real, authentic, transparent brands. 

“The advent of the internet and social media has a lot to do with this. These channels help consumers pick and choose exactly which brands they interact with. If people don’t want to see your ads, they’ll click away – it’s as simple as that.”  Julia McCoy, Content Marketing Institute 

Upset your customers with spammy techniques and shady tactics, and they will move on to your competition.  

Ignore the content that your customers want to see in favor of what you want to produce, and you’ll suffer the same fate. 

You can still enjoy the benefits of Content Marketing even if your traffic numbers are not as large as other websites, as long as your traffic is quality traffic.  This works because the traffic generated is highly targeted, according to a study by Kapost.

“The…objective in content marketing is quality traffic to your site.  Some consumer-focused brands have succeeded in generating high traffic volumes.  Niche, B2B brand achieve more modest traffic numbers but meet their objectives by building a highly targeted audience(emphasis added).”  Kapost study

2. Content Marketing Just Works Better than Traditional Marketing

According to a Demand Metrics Study, Content Marketing is far superior to Traditional Marketing.

  • Content Marketing Increases Direct Sales
  • “Interesting content is one of the main reasons people follow brands on social media”
  • “On average, companies with blogs produce +67% leads per month

Demand Metrics Study

P.J. Forrest, Doctor of Business Administration at Alcorn State University, adds additional proof that Content Marketing is more effective than traditional marketing.  

“Content Marketing has become the industry standard. It has been found to be more effective than Traditional marketing. Content Marketing shifts Marketing away from persuasive advertising and selling approaches and instead provides information which creates value for the consumer. 

This information may be interesting, helpful, informative, problem solving or just entertaining, but the consumer must derive some benefit from it.  

Successful Content Marketers create benefits for themselves as well in the form of increased sales, reduced costs, and more loyal consumers. 

As traditional marketing decreases in effectiveness Content Marketing effectiveness is increasing.  It has progressed from being a practice used to get a competitive edge on the competition to a must use. Companies who do not use Content Marketing get left behind in the industry.”  Forrest, Pj. (2019). Content Marketing Today

3. It’s the BEST Way to Increase Your Website Traffic – for the Least Cost

It’s cheaper and it’s more effective.  62% cheaper and 3 times more effective to be exact.

  • It costs 62% LESS than traditional marketing
  • Content Marketing generates leads (approximately 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing)
  • Content keeps the reader’s attention, keeping them on your site longer.
Content Marketing
Graph on the rise of Content Marketing

Demand Metrics Study

A study by Hubspot on the impact blogging has on the traffic to your website shows that it’s essential to have a blog.

This graph shows that regularly posting content on your company’s blog and sharing that content to index your pages on Google can increase your leads by 236%.  

Talk about rising above the competition! 

You can’t afford not to blog.

In a recent article, Content Marketing Institute, explains why Content Marketing is essential.  If you don’t use it, you will be left behind. Younger consumers expect content marketing to be a part of a company’s marketing strategy:

“Content marketing helps create engaging experiences that customers seek and helps develop deeper connections between brands and consumers.”

  • 50% of consumer time online is spent engaging with custom content. (HubSpot, 2013)
  • 64% of people say the customer experience is more important than price in their choice of a brand. (Gartner, 2014)
  • 70% of consumers say content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company. (Roper Public Affairs, 2012)”
  • Millennials expect brands to develop content for them, with 80% wanting to be directly entertained through content marketing. (Edelman, 2012)
  • By 2020, that customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. (Gartner, 2014)

4. You’ll Build Better, More Substantial Relationships with Your Customers – Turning them into Repeat Customers

According to Content Marketing Institute, potential customers will interact with your business 6 to 8 times before they decide to become a customer.  Content is what brings them back to your site. 

  • Content Marketing improves brand loyalty
  • 68% of people “spend time reading about brands that interest them”
  • 70% of people prefer to read articles than an advertisement to learn about a company
  • 70% of people “feel closer to a company as a result of content marketing
  • 80% of “people appreciate learning about a company through custom content”
  • 78% of people feel they have a relationship with a company after reading the company’s content
  • 82% of people “feel more positive about a company after reading custom content
  • 90% of consumers find custom content useful

Demand Metrics Study

My Qualifications

I’m an AWAI Verified Copywriter, a Copyblogger Certified Content Marketer, Freelance Writer, and Blogger with a BA in English and an emphasis in creative writing, a minor in Sociology, and an Associates in Paralegal Studies.  

I’ve been blogging since 2012 on my food blog Simply Playful Fare

My experience puts me in a position to be the expert for you, so you can run your business without having to split your focus.  

And still reap all the benefits of Content Marketing. 

Contact me to see how I can help you reach your customers on a different level. 

  • Cultivate loyal customers that spread your message for you.
  • Enjoy a method that is 62% cheaper and 3 times more effective than traditional marketing.
  • Generate approximately 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing
  • Those leads are more likely to turn into repeat customers
  • Increase your traffic

Remember, content is what brings people to your site.

Good content is what makes them stay.

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With good content and Content Marketing Strategy, you can jump ahead of your competitors and:

  • Recruit loyal customers that spread your message for you.
  • Create a modern marketing strategy that’s 62% cheaper and 3 times more effective than traditional marketing.
  • Generate approximately 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing
  • Turn those leads into repeat customers
  • Increase traffic to your website
  • Increase email sign-ups

Content Marketing benefited John Deere back in 1895, and hundreds of years later, people are still talking about them.

Imagine what Content Marketing can do for your business…

The longer you wait, the more your competitors will jump ahead.  So Don’t!

Contact me today.  

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