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Best marketing lesson from 2017

My view: Panelists at the Prairie Grains Conference said 2017 contained a lesson on why automatic sell triggers are important.

‘Tis the meeting season, and a good meeting I attended recently was the Prairie Grains Conference in Grand Forks, N.D. At that meeting, I heard about the best marketing lesson from 2017 and several other things:

• Best marketing lesson of 2017. If you missed selling some wheat for $8 per bushel last year, take heart. So did most everyone else. Spring wheat futures rose to $8 per bushel for a very brief time just before the July 4 holiday. “We woke up one day and it was there, and then in was gone,” said Betsy Jensen, Minnesota Farm Business Management Program instructor from Thief River Falls, Minn. About the only way producers could have gotten the $8 is if they had an automatic sell trigger in place to sell when prices reached $8. Sellers should use triggers in 2018 to catch the price that’s there one minute and gone the next, she suggested.

• Best marketing advice. Stop reading Twitter and Facebook for marketing insight. There was a lot of social media chatter last year about delayed corn planting in the eastern Cornbelt and drought in the Dakotas. It made many people too bullish on the chances for a price rally. Be more skeptical about most things you read and see about the markets in the daily media, especially social media. That’s because most media emphasize bad news. Bad news sells page views and papers. Good news, such as “it’s dry in the Dakotas, but it isn’t going to affect the market,” isn’t sensational enough to attract readers so it doesn’t get reported that way. “When my customers call me and tell me what they read, I’m scared for them,” one broker said.

• Best marketing quote. One reason it’s hard to find opportunities is they aren’t advertised. “Opportunity never comes with a neon sign that says, ‘Opportunity,’” said Angie Setzer, vice-president for grain at Citizens Elevator in Charlotte, Mich.

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