Land O'Lakes : Communicating with customers

A digital marketing microsite holds lessons for serving customers on corporate websites.

click to view

The feature

Land O’Lakes, a US-based agricultural cooperative that sells dairy products, animal feed and crop protection products, runs a microsite for its farmer customers called ‘Answer Tech’.

The site is managed from the corporate centre as part of an overall ‘digital transformation’ initiative (for more see Financial Times article here – may be behind a paywall), but operates under the company’s ‘Winfield’ crop protection brand. Some of the site is password protected, where farmers can store and access their own data. The public-facing part of the site, however, contains product information and by-lined reviews, articles about new technologies, and access to an app store.

The takeaway

In some ways, the Answer Tech microsite is classic content marketing. The articles in the ‘news’ section for example, although informative, rarely miss an opportunity to directly promote a Winfield product, eg ‘See how WinField’s R7 Tool Profitability Map… can help you get the most from your fields.’

Such a heavy-handed approach to editorial is usually not appropriate for corporate websites. Other aspects of Answer Tech are worth looking at though, especially for corporate digital comms teams coping with their own ‘digital transformation’ initiatives and demands to ‘sell more stuff’ on corporate websites.

For example:

  • Many of Answer Tech’s headlines – with a more hands-off approach to promotion in the actual articles – would not be out of place in a corporate online magazine, eg, ‘3 things you need to know about the John Deere/Climate Corporation Agreement’ or ‘Ag industry inches toward data standards’.
  • Content is regularly updated, by-lined by expert contributors, and there is a clear editorial focus – the uses of ag technology.
  • Product reviews – even when written about the company’s products by the company’s employees – make an attempt at neutrality, by talking about limitations and less positive aspects of the products.
  • The responsive layout is simple, modern and engaging.
  • Social media channels are used to build a sense of ‘community’ among its agriculture industry customers.


Those were just a few of the ideas we saw after looking briefly at the site. If marketing is increasingly appropriating concepts like ‘authenticity’ from comms (eg, telling it like it is, in plain language – or at least appearing to), why not pinch a few ideas for corporate websites from the marketing folks?
First published 09 December, 2015
< Back to Tips