Marketing feeder cattle isn’t as simple as it once was. That’s because the market demands accuracy and sophistication to add value.

Troy Marshall 2, BEEF Contributing Editor

November 9, 2017

2 Min Read
Are the days of simplicity behind us?

Simplicity is the new buzzword in the cattle industry. It seems that every new program or idea has to be couched under the blanket of simplicity. That’s understandable, given today’s complex environment. However, it is also one of the most misinterpreted terms in the industry.

Simplicity in today’s world is actually an incredible array of complexity that is simple in its implementation but not in its creation. Like our smart phones, which have more computing power than the computers that got us to the moon, simplicity is in the use and interface, while the complexity and power of what those hand-held computers can do is expanding at a phenomenal rate. 

In reality, the marketplace abhors simplicity and is demanding a whole new level of sophistication. In today’s world, general or simplistic solutions are seen as being worthless. Customers demand and expect more, especially as it relates to return on investment. The product has to be more sophisticated, more accurate and add more value than ever before, but using the product is expected to be painless and easy.

This point was brought home with the discussion at the latest American Angus Association (AAA) convention and their new feeder calf marketing program.

It seems that we all want, even demand, simplicity. Yet simplicity also equates to irrelevancy because the marketplace is demanding accuracy and sophistication. The reason that many feeder calf marketing programs have failed in the past can largely be assigned to one of two things. Either they were too simple and did not have enough value in the marketplace, or they were too cumbersome and as a result were not implemented. 

Related:Hey cowboy! Let’s talk (better)

The great irony is that simplicity is really disguising complexity. Marketing cattle requires more work and more substance than ever before. In today’s world, the competitive demands are immense and information has made the market far more fluid and reflective of value relationships.

The days of using marketing might to effect change are no longer there—marketing is crucial, but the basic premise is in delivering value above and beyond what the marketplace is already providing. And in today’s world, we can access more information and more value at a lower cost point than ever before. Information flow has been rendered virtually cost free and ubiquitous. It comes down to the value of your data set and your ability to create value from that data set.

The AAA program is in its infancy and a long way from being finalized conceptually. Undoubtedly, there will need to be a lot of forethought to how this program will eventually be constructed. Everyone wants the solution to be simple to implement, but demands that it answer complex issues. 

Related:American Angus Convention faces debates on strategic intentions

About the Author(s)

Troy Marshall 2

BEEF Contributing Editor

Troy Marshall is a multi-generational rancher who grew up in Wheatland, WY, and obtained an Equine Science/Animal Science degree from Colorado State University where he competed on both the livestock and World Champion Horse Judging teams. Following college, he worked as a market analyst for Cattle-Fax covering different regions of the country. Troy also worked as director of commercial marketing for two breed associations; these positions were some of the first to provide direct links tying breed associations to the commercial cow-calf industry.

A visionary with a great grasp for all segments of the industry, Troy is a regular opinion contributor to BEEF Cow-Calf Weekly. His columns are widely reprinted and provide in-depth reporting and commentary from the perspective of a producer who truly understands the economics and challenges of the different industry segments. He is also a partner/owner in Allied Genetic Resources, a company created to change the definition of customer service provided by the seedstock industry. Troy and his wife Lorna have three children. 

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