As the United States Potato Board Industry Communications & Policy Department marked its third anniversary earlier this summer, our primary objective remains the same:
"Communicate directly to growers in a way individually targeted to their specific business needs, so they can leverage USPB strategies, programs and activities in their business activities."
However, the programs we employ to accomplish that singularly focused task continue to be refined and, in some cases, reinvented, almost continuously.
For emphasis above, please note the words "individually targeted." Why is it so important we, as your source for the latest information on how your USPB is "Maximizing Return on Grower Investment," deliver information to you that is individually targeted to your specific potato business interest?
Well, the reasons are two-fold and have not changed significantly over time:
You are very busy, we respect that and understand you are not idly waiting by your computer or mailbox just so you can read the latest about the activities and achievements of your USPB to build global demand for potatoes and potato products.
In this age of "information overload," if you cannot quickly pick out the information most directly relevant to your business, chances are very good nothing gets communicated.
So, how do we meet that challenge of delivering to you the information most directly relevant to your business, in a timely fashion and in a form that is easily and quickly read?
Believe us, that is far easier said than done, but here is a review of our newest USPB Industry Communications improvements:
The delivery method and format for our "workhorse," the bi-weekly e-newsletter, Industry Update changed, effective with the April 22, 2009, issue. Now instead of sending the entire newsletter as one big email message, Industry Update is now delivered via the Constant Contact service and format (look at some of the other e-newsletters you receive, and most likely, several of them are probably Constant Contact newsletters). What does this new delivery method and format mean to you? Several things, in fact:
- On average, the file size is about 15 times smaller than before, meaning faster downloads and less space in your inbox.
- All stories continue to be grouped by industry sector, but now, the first sentence or two of the story follow the headline so you can get a quick read of what the story is about.
- All the stories in the issue are still in the email, allowing you the opportunity to easily and quickly scroll down the list and click to those stories that most interest you.
- At the very bottom of the newsletter is a convenient "Forward email" link allowing you to quickly and easily forward Industry Update to up to five colleagues.
(Visit www.uspotatoes.com, then click on "News & Events," followed by "Newsletter Archives.")
By the time you read this column, the new uspotatoes.com will have been launched.
On the outside, the site will:
- Sport a fresh new look
- Everything will now be organized by industry sector
- All of the most widely used sections like "What's News?" "News & Events" and "Forms & Reports" will still be easily and quickly accessible from the home page
- Overall navigation will be easier
- Because of significant "under-the-hood" changes, the site should load faster
"Under the Hood," the site will feature:
- Automatic Monthly Reporting to Staff of "Last Updated" Date, By Page-allowing us to more easily keep all information current and relevant
- Web Site Update Email Notification System, By Segment-allowing us to notify you when an item specific to your business interests has been posted
- Section 508 Compliance-allowing people with visual and hearing challenges to browse all content on the site and to meet March 2010 mandated requirements by the USDA/Foreign Ag Service for the websites of all program recipients of Market Access funds to be fully compliant
- Mobile Enabled-a future functionality allowing browser-type view and search ability on all handheld devices
Coupled with our ongoing Highlights sector e-newsletters, our monthly columns here in Potato Grower and the other industry publications, our many press releases and feature stories that appear in these pages every month, our print advertising program across some industry publications, not to mention our attendance at every winter meeting and trade show and co-title sponsorship, along with the NPC, of the fabulously successful Potato Expo, your USPB Industry Communications staff constantly seeks ways to deliver information to you that is individually targeted to your specific potato business interest.
At the same time, we are always open to new ideas, in fact, some of our most recent improvements were ideas from board members. So, if you have any idea that you think might make the content and delivery of USPB news to you stronger or more efficient, please contact me at the USPB, (303) 873-2314, or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After all, the USPB is your program, and it is our job to help you keep up with your investment in the USPB.