I was in a convenience store the other day and I saw a John Deere item on the shelf. 

Now, I’ve long known about John Deere scale model tractors and John Deere keychains but this particular item took me by surprise.  It was a box of Kellogg’s Fruit Flavored Snacks featuring John Deere on the box and tractor shaped fruit blobs inside the box.
I have always admired John Deere’s marketing department for their efforts to make John Deere an American institution.  In our minds, John Deere built the American mid-west and currently cultivates the agricultural bread basket.  John Deere puts food on our tables and gives us the ability to sell wheat to the rest of the world.  John Deere has strength to both mow our home lawn and harvest a 640 acre central pivot cornfield.  We all know “nothing runs like a Deere.”
John Deere has cross promoted itself into many areas of American life and I think this cross promotion works well for them.  In an age where effects of advertising campaigns are measured in days or weeks, John Deere bucks the trend by using long term marketing efforts.  Who buys (or, at least, uses) fruit snacks?  Kids do.  The fruit snacks might be purchased by adults but it’s the kids who enjoy them.  I can’t believe John Deere is turning a profit selling fruit snacks.  However, that 10 year old kid who gobbles down a fruit snack today will remember the name John Deere 20 years from now.  When it’s time to buy a new tractor or lawn mower, John Deere will be forever entrenched in his mind and John Deere’s investment in fruit snack marketing will finally pay off.
I love to think about marketing strategies and I am as guilty as the next guy trying to developing advertising which has immediate dividends for my lawn care business just like John Deere does.  As we forge forward into a new year we should all attempt to develop marketing strategies which will have long term benefits and not just an immediate payoff of days or weeks.