On Wednesday morning, I sat with my coffee cup in hand and listened via Webcast to our CEO Hugh Grant talk with investors and analysts about Monsanto’s second quarter earnings. At the same time, I had my Tweetdeck and Google Reader up to scan and follow the latest comments from our farmer customers. It was refreshing to hear what our execs said in that call, because it matched what I’ve been seeing online from our customers.
What Monsanto executives said yesterday—including CEO Hugh Grant—was the result of feedback they picked up from meeting with farmers across the U.S. for the past several months. What we heard consistently from these farmers is that they find value in our products and in our technology. But we also heard that our pricing methods on new products such as Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield and Genuity SmartStax can be an obstacle for customers who want to try new technologies.
This feedback is partly why we reset our financial goals yesterday, acknowledging that the goal of doubling gross profit from 2007 to 2012 was unlikely.
As Mr. Grant told analysts yesterday:
“We refuse to achieve our growth objectives to the detriment of our customers….we can either make a stubborn push for the targets we’ve set for ourselves and strain those valuable customer relationships – or, we can do more to work with our customers and let the growth come more naturally. That will change some things. I’d like to say it’s pure altruism, but the reality is it’s the right thing to do for the business – today and tomorrow.”
Moving forward, we’ll be looking at ways we can provide customers with more options to evaluate the technology and then decide the right combination of products for their farm.