Kunau Implement, with locations in DeWitt and Preston, Iowa, focuses intently on customers is through high-quality, customized

Adapted from an article that originally ran in the March 2011 issue of Farm Equipment, a sister publication to Rural Lifestyle Dealer. Click here for the full article.

marketing and special events.

The dealership spares little expense to produce fliers, brochures and other material that brand the dealership’s name and mission in the local market.

Todd Kunau, co-owner and sales and marketing manager,  says Case IH executives have been supportive of creative marketing efforts at local dealerships and they usually don’t react negatively if an experiment doesn’t pan out.

“You can see we have organic lawn fertilizer, safety equipment, safety hats and belt buckles and weather vanes in our showrooms — things that are a little different,” Todd Kunau says. “If that doesn’t work, we’ll try something else. We just throw it up there and see what happens.”

A Message Worth Reading

Any dealership can put out a flyer that screams about sales events and slogans. But Todd decided to create something with a little more quality and focus.

Six years ago, he began assembling two different 8-page, full-color newsletters. “Kunau Harvester” was produced for row-crop farmers and “Kunau Territory” for hobby farmers. The publications have since been combined into a single newsletter.

“I wanted to put something out that’s high quality and has a longer shelf life,” Todd says. “Hopefully, the customers put them by the Laz-Z-Boy in the family room, pick them up over a few weeks to read it, and they’ll get another one in a few more weeks.”

The brochure, with a personal, signed message from Todd on the inside cover, has evolved from a sales tool into an editorial one, with messages that promote dealership events, developments in technology or new equipment lines acquired by Kunau.

One 2009 edition discussed the latest equipment from mainline suppliers and announced a summertime “efficiency clinic” where customers could learn how to better use the technology available on their equipment.

“It’s branding for our dealership. We’re giving customers a feeling of who we are and what we stand for,” Todd says of the newsletters. “It’s another place where they can see our brands and the things we’ve got going on.”

Calling All Buyers

 In late November, after the buzz of harvest dies down, the Kunaus send a flyer to customers about Kunau’s end-of-year closeout sale to boost equipment sales and move excess inventory.

Through the years, the Kunaus identified a sizeable group of “year-end” customers who want to know what equipment their dealership has and its price. While there’s always a risk of bombarding customers with too many advertisements, Todd says the response has been phenomenal.

After the fliers go out, Todd puts a large display board on an easel inside the front door when the closeout takes place. The board shows the available equipment and the price.

“We cross off the sold items so people can see there’s an active sale going on, that it’s an actual event,” Todd says. “We had another success with this in 2010, and let it run into the middle of January. It gets people buzzing when they can see what’s been crossed off.”

Opening the Doors

Yearly open houses aren’t a new idea at dealerships, and they’ve been done at Kunau for a number of years, too. But employees began rethinking the event a couple of years ago after it seemed to get stale.

“Growing up in this business, on open-house days you’ll see a line that runs out of the facility and down the sidewalk, and it’s people you’ve never seen before or will ever see again,” he says. “So you ask yourself, what does it mean to your customers?”

After returning from Case IH’s parts trade fair, DeWitt parts manager Bob Garien talked about the small carnival, tables of vendors and frequent giveaways he witnessed.

So Kunau Implement borrowed some ideas from that event and hosted its first revamped open house in 2009.

The employees cleaned out a corner of the shop at each store, added vendors from the Case IH fair as well as some local ones, organized seminars and offered customers a chance to “come and talk to experts,” Todd says. Mark Henningsen, service manager in the DeWitt store, suggested the dealerships give away a flat-screen television to attract more people. So Kunau Implement gave away two.

“It was a lot more fun for everybody. Everybody learned something, and some people stayed all day,” Todd says. “It’s something more valuable to the customer than just a free burger.”