Our Industry is going through a period of change. The long debate on the merits of attending the Saltex and Harrogate shows has come to a climax this year. A number of companies are changing their marketing strategies, pulling out of the shows in preference to other corporate activities. The favoured strategy this year has been a more personal and independent road show format.
This September Kubota ran a series of 7 events called Kubota Live! These road shows were held around the country.
I went along to the Worcester Rugby Club venue based at Six Ways junction 6 on the M5, a good access site for people attending from the Midlands and mid Wales regions.
On entering, I was surprised to see the scale and size of the show. There were over 60 products on display. Kubota have for years, dominated the compact tractor market and more recently developed and increased the range of equipment on offer.
This has culminated in the unveiling of a new 8 tonne digger, and expansion into the agricultural tractor sector with their flagship M125X farming tractor. They have also produced the RTV900 off road all-terrain vehicle.
Combine these with the ever-increasing mower product range and there's no doubt that Kubota can certainly offer a complete Groundcare package for its customers.
I was greeted by Rhian Kendall, Kubota's Marketing co-ordinator who was on hand to ensure the day went smoothly. Rhian introduced me to David Roberts the Sales and Marketing Manager for Kubota's Tractor & Groundcare Division.
I asked David how the shows had gone and what attendance figures had they achieved during the series of shows. He said, "each show has been very well attended, averaging around 250 people per venue. The whole point of the Kubota Live days is to allow customers to have a go, get on the machines and see how they perform. Something that is rarely possible at other trade show locations. More importantly the road show raises the awareness of what Kubota has to offer in terms of products and services."
The road show was designed to be informal, no long speeches or seminars, just working demonstrations and equipment trialing with plenty of good advice on hand from Kubota personnel.
David stated, " there is still a need to attend the industry shows, but we are being more receptive towards other forms of marketing as well. It's all about maximising our resources."
There was a good cross section of visitors, ranging from Local Authority Council officers, contractors, private sector construction and maintenance companies, Groundsmen and Greenkeepers as well as farmers.
An area had been set up for the RTV vehicles to perform, an off road circuit that encompassed rough terrain and muddy banks for users to negotiate. The RTV900 has already attracted a lot of interest from farmers and golf clubs. It is well built with power steering and independent front and semi rear
suspension. It has formidable traction on the hills, with its Hydrostatic drive.
There was a range of Compact diggers on show, again show visitors could use the machinery and try their hand at earth moving and loading.
On the mowing front there was a good range of ride on rotary mowers on show, with the front deck mowers proving to be a popular choice along with the GZD15 & GZD21 Zero turn mowers.
Most of the local dealerships were also in attendance giving support to the day. I met up with Richard Jones of Oakley's who could not praise the day enough, "a great opportunity for all of us to get together and promote our services and meet up with existing and new customers."
I certainly enjoyed my day; having talked to both the promoters and customers, the event feedback was a resounding success.
I am sure we are going to see an increase in these sorts of road shows, the ability to take your wares to the customer is becoming more popular.