Growmark FS is a company situated in the Eastern United States. They sell agronomy and plant-related crop products like seeds and fertilizers through their retail channels at multiple locations in the US. Besides offering quality products to farmers, they also support the community with information and training.
Growmark FS sources and shares information regarding relevant products, materials, and their application. They share this along with analytics for field planting and precision products to farmers presenting the unique possible ways to grow their crops in a better manner.
Traditionally, Growmark would host multiple in-person events to share this information and interact with farmers. Nathan Hykes, agronomy field technician at Growmark FS, mentioned, “In a normal year, we would host around 20-30 physical events that would have anywhere from 25-125 participants. We would align our sales team and top growers in a particular location and give a classroom-style presentation, providing value-added information to key growers and farmers regarding better fertilization methods and products. Post-pandemic, we began looking to organize the event virtually.”
Growmark wanted a cost-effective virtual platform that could provide a seamless experience and add value to their event. Let’s check out Growmark FS’s journey of hosting their conference virtually using Airmeet.
Challenges (And Solutions)
Growmark wanted to shift the entire in-person event to virtual and have an engaging virtual conference with active participation from attendees and sponsors.
Challenge 1 : Find a platform that offers deep interaction opportunities and has enormous potential for engaging the audience
Nathan shared, “The platforms we were familiar with just weren’t working. I was introduced to Airmeet as a speaker at my college alumni session, and I liked the platform a lot. I reached out for a demo and was impressed by the features.
Features that enabled GrowmarkFS to have interactive sessions with participants included:
Social Lounge: Nathan mentioned, “During the demo, the lounge just jumped right out. We felt that it was an amazing feature for what we wanted to do. We kept the lounge open for a half-hour before the event for people to mingle. During the event, after two sessions, we asked participants to join the lounge. We had a table specifically for speakers so attendees could ask them questions and also interact with sponsors. We also kept it open post the event, and people stayed around for almost an hour just talking and visiting.”
Q&A: Growmark duplicated their event, giving attendees two-time options for attending. They had pre-recorded sessions followed by live Q&A sessions so the audience could interact with the speaker in real-time.
Polls & Chat: Nathan said, “We ran a couple of polls during the sessions, and that went well. People also used the chat to ask a few questions. A few people also used the emojis feature, which was cool. The audience was not necessarily the most tech-savvy, so the fact that they explored these features was a big plus.”
Backstage: Airmeet allowed the host and speakers to go backstage and interact right before the session. Nathan said, “We utilized that backstage feature to have conversations with the speakers and get them comfortable without having to be in front of everybody.”
Challenge 2: Redefining the virtual events experience with a smooth execution
Growmark FS wanted to deliver hassle-free product presentations to the attendees without any network glitches. Nathan mentioned, ”We thought about the connectivity challenge as our team is in rural areas, and it could be nerve-wracking if we lose the internet connection while presenting.”
Airmeet resolved most of these challenges for Growmark with a great virtual and user-friendly interface that provided options for:
Pre-recorded presentations: Airmeet allowed Growmark to upload pre-recorded content ahead of time, so it was readily available for the sessions.
Nathan mentioned, “The fact that we could pre-record everything and actually have it uploaded on Airmeet ahead of time was absolutely huge for us. It was not dependent on one person’s computer as that could prove problematic if something went wrong with it.”
Virtual emcee and event support services: Growmark chose to have a virtual emcee from the Airmeet team. Nathan mentioned that the emcee helped to keep things running. He said, “We did have training beforehand, and there were shared videos from the support team, but I would definitely get an emcee again for my next event because of the quality of event support and the great convenience this offered. I wouldn’t have to worry about playing the videos and keeping things running smoothly.”
Challenge 3 : A virtual platform that's viable in terms of investment and is enticing to sponsors
Growmark was looking for a value for money platform that offered a space to showcase
event sponsors and gives them additional ways to engage with the audience.
The features that helped solve this included:
Economy: Nathan said, “The economic value of the subscription was much more affordable and better than an in-person event cost. When we compared it to the amount spent on in-person events, Airmeet was a good investment. The unexpected benefit we derived on Airmet was that we recovered the cost of our subscription from our sponsors alone. We had two supporting events for one major event with eight presentations. There were 250+ participants, and we had 13 sponsors.”
Booths: Airmeet offered Growmark virtual booths to have a dedicated space for sponsor showcasing. Nathan mentioned, “Our regular in-person event sponsors were very excited to sponsor the virtual booths. Our team did a great job of making attractive-looking booths and manning them. It was great.”
Branding: Airmeet provided a lot of opportunities for branding at the event. Nathan mentioned, “Instead of just a plain virtual event, we were able to do a lot of branding, and that was huge for us.
Analytics: Regarding the analytics, Nathan mentioned, “The analytics report was extremely helpful. It was something we weren’t expecting, and when it was shared with us later, we felt like we definitely wanted that. It was very helpful to see who was actually there. We were able to tell our salespeople which of their growers were there so that they could connect with them.
Also, we could exactly present to our sponsors how many people visited their booth and the number of interactions and connections that were made. It was helpful for them to see it and realize that the sponsorship was a justified expense. It also helped me report to upper management analytics of how attendees interact- how many people did go to a booth or table and how comfortable they were.”
Nathan said, “We are delighted with Airmeet as a product as it has many fantastic features. We would love to organize hybrid events in the future via Airmeet. It is a
customizable and highly interactive platform to host a virtual conference. It has all the things you’d expect in an actual conference – presentations, breakout areas, trade show floor- everything is replicated virtually.”
If you feel Growmark’s journey resonates with you, do connect with the Airmeet team and schedule a quick demo.