Marketing Genius from Maple Creative


Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


As I listened to the State of the Union speech last night, one word stood out to me. It was foreign to me. One word did not flow easily through my ears into my brain. That word was switchgrass. Most, if not all, of the other 5,000 or so words were familiar-- terrorism, ethanol, healthcare savings accounts, etc.

In the president's remarks on the energy shortage and the need for alternative fuel research he mentioned that the nation needs to develop or refine new fuels to power our automobiles. He mentioned ethanol, as an example, citing that it could be produced not only from corn, but also from wood chips and switchgrass.

My first question was: "What the heck is switchgrass?" It is a prarie tallgrass that is native to North America. Switchgrass is very hardy and it grows rapidly. It shows promising characteristics as a feedstock for ethanol and also for home heating in pellet stoves. To learn more about it you can go to Wikipedia. I also found via Google a three-page white paper from the Iowa State University extension service on guidelines for growing switchgrass as a biomass fuel. Iowa, by the way, seems to be leading the way, with activity also in Kansas. There's also a pretty comprehensive article on the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center's Web site.

My next question was: "Who the heck got this into the State of the Union?" That answer remains elusive. But we can be relatively sure that some lobbyist somewhere leaped into the air, fist-pumped and did an end zone celebration dance, immediately after the president said the word switchgrass.

So what does this have to do with marketing? Not much, unless you're in the business of marketing (or lobbying for) switchgrass and its producers. (Maple Creative is not, for the record.) Just thought you'd like to know.

Kudos to the lobbyists and marketers for switchgrass for introducing it to most of the nation by way of a very high-profile messenger, nicknamed "W."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's really not a bad idea. Farmers in the US get paid to "not to farm their land" in order to not flood the market. It's and easy crop truly, and will grow just about anywhere. Just have those farmers grow swithgrass. Now's a good as time as any considering their is only enough oil for 25 years. Maybe it was a lobbyist, but does it matter. We are very dependant on oil, everyone on this planet practically. If grown it will actually reduce carbon in the atmosphere. Here's our chance to save the planet it just seem's to easy. Want to see a great depression like no other, it's easy just continue down the path were on and it's a sure thing.

1:36 AM

Blogger Emily W said...

I love it!! When I heard this during the speech, my ears perked and I thought, "Oh no, is this poetic licence again!?"
(Think "strategery"!)

I'm glad to hear from you, Skip, that switchgass is really a viable feedstock for fuel. Thanks for the agricultural schooling!!

12:57 PM

Blogger Jen said...

I agree with Emily! I was glad to hear more about this and to hear about your research.

At least I can believe what you say about it!!!!!

9:20 PM

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4:06 AM


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