📥Growth Archive #11

Discover John Deere's 118-year-old content marketing strategy

Hi everyone 🤝 

This is Cameron from The Growth Archive📥

Every week, I highlight my favourite marketing case studies, interviews, and examples that showcase real-world B2B growth marketing strategies you can use in your business right away.

Today’s Issue 📰

Today, I’ve lined up 1 real-world B2B marketing case study that I’ve added to The Growth Archive.

Let’s jump right into the case study of the week.

John Deere's 118-year-old content marketing strategy🚜

John Deere, a talented blacksmith, moved to Illinois in 1836 after the New England economy crashed.

This is where he opened up the historical blacksmith shop in Grand Detour.

He noticed that he was getting work from a lot of farmers in that area.

They all seemed to have a recurring problem.

Their cast-iron plows were ineffective in the sticky soil of the Midwest Prairies.

The soil tended to clump up on the blade of the plow, requiring the farmer to stop every few minutes to clear it.

So Deere got to work and designed a new steel plow.

The smooth texture of the steel blade would not allow the soil of the Great Plains to stick as the cast iron did.

John Deere did not invent the steel plow, however, he was one of the few plow makers who borrowed ideas and established a process to perfect the plow in the ideal region.

This was an immediate success.

He generated more and more leads by hosting a live demonstration.

Crowds gathered to witness its effectiveness.

Expansion and Growth:

The success of his plow led to the establishment of a factory that was established along the Mississippi River, as John wanted to leverage this for power and transport facilities.

‍The business thrived, he produced 10,000 plows annually.

Farmers spread the word, and he became renowned for its high-quality products.

John's Legacy Continued:

After John Deere's passing, his son Charles, at just 16, took control of the business.

He went on to guide the company for 46 years.

What he did in 1895 changed his business forever.

This is the year he introduced "The Furrow,"

This was a magazine that was given to customers from every John Deere branch for free.

At first, the magazine was directly advertising all his products.

However, Charles realised that providing an accurate, unbiased source of information to farmers with minimal promotional content could be a more effective approach.

Rather than pushing the focus on selling John Deere’s equipment through direct marketing like everyone else.

They focused on the farmers themselves.

It worked extremely well.

And by 1912, there were over 4 million readers.

This content-centric approach of offering valuable farming insights and news marked a shift from traditional marketing strategies.

This strategy nurtured trust and loyalty among farmers with it’s content, positioning John Deere as a trusted authority in the agricultural sector.

Modern Relevance:

Even today, "The Furrow" remains a crucial part of John Deere's marketing strategy, with a strong readership.

“The Furrow currently has more than 550,000 readers in North America, the majority of which are existing John Deere customers.

Readership surveys conducted by John Deere have found that "40% of readers read every single word - including ads - in every single issue, a number that equates to roughly 25 million impressions each year.”

“We keep hearing these stories about papers dying,” he said. “But in surveys of our readers, we’re told 80 percent still prefer paper to electronic—regardless of their demographic.”

John Deere's story is a powerful example of customer-focused innovation and the enduring power of community-building through relevant content, demonstrating that truly understanding and catering to your audience's needs can create a lasting legacy.

Learn about your audience, and solve their problems with extremely valuable content, and they will eventually turn to you as the major brand for advice and become loyal customers.

As John Deere mentions:

“The Furrow is a portal into a brand that people feel passionately about—to the level that kids are wallpapering their rooms with our tractors.”

You just don’t run across that every day.

Interested In More B2B Marketing Case Studies? 📂

I’ve spent over 100 hours creating a free gallery of 23+ B2B marketing examples, interviews, and case studies you can use in your own business.

All I ask for in return is that you share it with a fellow business owner to show your support :)

It only takes a couple of seconds to help keep this project going.

B2B Marketing Examples And Resources

Thank you for reading the Growth Archive!

Subscribe now to receive weekly posts on growth marketing tips from examples, interviews, and case studies that you can implement in your B2B today.

I will mark every new edition with the icon ‘📥’ in the subject line so that you can find it easily.

See you next week!

Cameron Scully (@cameronscully_)

Cameron Scully

Join the conversation

or to participate.