Sponsoring online blogs and discussion forums could become a valuable part of any pig and poultry marketing strategy, John Fossey (pictured), brand manager of Subaru and Isuzu, told the recent Pig and Poultry LIVE ’09 event.

Like the pig and poultry sectors, he had no real marketing budget. “Being an independent car importer, we don’t receive any subsidy from the motor manufacturers for marketing. So we can’t do any TV adverts or any extended press campaigns.”

But despite this, the company had proved successful in capturing new consumers by adopting a cleverer use of the media and sponsorship.

His advice to the pig and poultry sectors was to stand behind a common flag or logo like the Red Tractor Logo. “What I have seen [in the pig and poultry sectors] seems piecemeal and fragmented. There is tremendous value in people understanding what your logo means.”

Then he went on to outline his strategy, which was based on engaging specific groups of people, such as those who were adventurous and interested in rural pursuits for the off-road range.

“First we approached IPC magazines with a three-year package, including skyscraper and banner adverts on websites, as well as sponsoring a user forum and a micro-site.

“For example, we sponsored a discussion forum, an area on the web which we can own where potential customers can interact with each other without any feeling of commercial pressure.”

Another key part of his marketing is sponsorship of the Horse and Country TV channel with 660,000 viewers a week.

On top of this, Subaru reached out to the equine sector by sponsorship of various horse events. The company targeted a wider rural audience by exhibiting rural shows, such as the Royal,Royal Highland and the Royal Welsh.

In conclusion, he said the key was to take products to the consumer and even food companies were adopting this.

“You see more food companies going where the footfall is highest, such as outside supermarkets like Sainsbury’s. Recently, I saw Kenco offering coffee outside my local store.”