Peterson Farms Seed

Onsharp Case Study

Peterson Farms Seed

Replicating In-Market Leadership Online Through Enhanced User Engagement

Peterson’s dated website was disrupting its agronomy business. Onsharp’s discovery process paved the way for a remodel that overcame each and every challenge.

Industry: Agriculture
HQ: Harwood, ND
Project: Website Redesign
Objective: Improve content and UX for critical customer retention
Technologies: WordPress, custom plugins and programming

KEY RESULTS

Built-for-purpose informational tables for 80+ products
Easy search/filter functionality across 12 key categories
New tracking code for improved website decision-making
Modernized look and feel with updated company branding

BACKGROUND

Few companies know more about genetically-modified seeds than Peterson Farms Seed.  The largest independent organization of its kind in the Upper Midwest, Peterson has been the region’s premier provider of corn hybrids and soybean varieties for decades.

The benefits of its innovations must be clearly conveyed to drive sales.  Farmers need to understand how Peterson’s blend of agronomy and technology creates a superior product for their businesses.  As with many other industries, their first stop is often the company’s website.

However, Peterson’s site had become slow and dated.  Prospective customers found it difficult to search for the detailed product data they needed to make buying decisions.  Those who looked for the proper sales rep to contact found this hard to determine as well.

Unfortunately, Peterson’s existing web provider became unresponsive when the team raised these issues along with requests for updates.  This caused serious concerns among leadership:

  • Peterson was losing customers to seed companies with more user-friendly websites
  • Its talent pipeline suffered due to similar reasons and lack of an online application option
  • Employees were frustrated by being unable to make key updates to rectify these issues

Peterson’s technological expertise is in seed production, not web programming.  It needed a new provider here that could create a stronger online destination to hit web-marketing goals:

  • Improve site UX and content
  • Reflect the company’s premier brand
  • Drive higher organic search traffic
  • Give content control back to internal staff

Peterson engaged multiple agencies before finding the right partner in Onsharp, a leader in its own tech field that’s also headquartered in the region.  It was impressed with the developer’s references and portfolio of similar website redesigns.  Onsharp’s process also gave Peterson confidence that it would receive a plan that supported objectives and accurately forecasted time and resources to get the job done.

APPROACH

As with any project of this magnitude, Onsharp began with an in-depth discovery process.  This was a vital step in understanding Peterson’s agronomy business.  Only then could it create a blueprint that dove past surface-level symptoms to solve the underlying problems.

Discovery involved various workshops based on Peterson’s website needs, including technology, branding, and content.  This modular model allowed Onsharp to bring in appropriate subject-matter experts as the site’s framework evolved.

Coming out of its assessment, Onsharp developers determined WordPress was still the proper CMS for Peterson.  However, it required a thorough revamp for greater flexibility in meeting specific client needs.  They would start with a basic WordPress theme and customize the design from there.  They’d then rework the entire site map to improve information flow, as well as come up with a solution to make it easier to search for and filter seed varieties.

Onsharp also knew its client never cut corners.  Peterson had recently rebranded, so the website needed to visually convey the same promise of quality represented by the company’s new logo.  Form could not be sacrificed in favor of function.

SOLUTION

Onsharp’s emphasis on discovery paid off for Peterson.  The seed provider’s site rebuild elevated its online presence to match its leadership position in the industry.  This began with a much-improved UX:

  • Intuitive navigation helped users find relevant information more quickly
  • Responsive design ensured easier viewing and faster load speeds on all devices
  • Integration of Peterson’s new branding modernized its digital look and feel

The enhanced UX and layout enabled Peterson to reshape its content as well:

  • Better highlighted key areas of its value proposition like customer service and innovation
  • Added an interactive map, headshots, and bios in the Find a Rep section
  • Inserted product information into organized, sortable tables

The last of these was particularly crucial for customers.  Providing the kind of filtering Peterson needed for best-in-class functionality required Onsharp to customize a special plugin.  The resulting tables were clean and efficient, presenting more than a dozen pieces of agricultural information for over 80 corn and soybean products.  Non-critical details became available as optional pop-ups to streamline content on the main page.

Custom coding converted Peterson’s existing PDF application into a user-friendly web format.  Human Resources received real-time submissions inclusive of any additional materials provided by the applicants.  With a single feature, Peterson made itself more attractive to skilled job seekers while simplifying the hiring process for HR.

As website development unfolded, Peterson requested a number of revisions to the platform.  These included visual changes to things like the sales rep map, as well as functional tweaks to features such as the product tables.  Some of these presented technical difficulties within WordPress’s architecture.  However, Onsharp has always taken an “anything is possible” attitude to such challenges and pushed creative thinking even further to meet its client’s vision.

Integration of Google Analytics made sure these revisions and any moving forward improved site performance.  The software’s tracking code facilitated sound decision-making around content, SEO, and overall website strategy.

In addition to implementing these types of automated tools and safeguards, Onsharp helped Peterson become more hands-on.  It trained website managers on everything they’d need to make routine updates without formal programming skills.  Since the site underwent weekly content updates, this self-sufficiency led to cost-efficiency that benefitted the broader business.

RESULTS

Peterson was pleased to finally have a website tailored to its agricultural solutions.  The new setup better catered to the needs of its customers, improved visitor traffic, and created a consistent brand experience on- and offline.

Also instrumental to web marketing was the team’s newfound technical competence.  The ability to maintain its own site without being completely dependent on provider support accelerated Peterson’s digital marketing efforts.

At the same time, leadership enjoyed peace of mind knowing it now had a more reliable and responsive web master in Onsharp.  For instance, when they needed updates to the product tables a few months later, Onsharp stepped in to make adjustments based on feedback collected since the new site’s release.

This ongoing relationship was a direct extension of their collaboration during the initial build.  Peterson appreciated its partner’s openness to idea sharing, which only reinforced its reputation as an agency that doesn’t stop at “good enough.”  Rather, Onsharp’s experts welcomed trial-and-error knowing this would ultimately lead to a better product.

Peterson continues to look to Onsharp today for web hosting, security, SEO, and other support that helps underscore its leadership in seed innovation.

Key Metrics Realized:

Built-for-purpose informational tables for 80+ products

Easy search/filter functionality across 12 key categories

New tracking code for improved website decision-making

Modernized look and feel with updated company branding