How would you solve turfgrass pest problems?

By: May 7, 2013

As I wrote in my previous post, average American mobile user is spending cca. 2 hours 38 minutes on his mobile and tablet on daily basis. Americans are spending twice as much time today with desktop media as they do with mobile. If mobile media will keep on growing in the same pace as in 2012 (+51.9% growth vs 2011) then I can imagine the two could reach parity or tablets and mobiles will gain slight advantage.


Growth of Average Time Spent per Day with Major Media by US Adults
It seems to me, that smartphones became also part of superintendents' everyday life. John Kaminski Ph.D. (Associate Professor, Turfgrass Science at the Penn State University) and his team launched last month a mobile application (Turfpath) to help superintendents' work, namely to be able recognize turfgrass pest problems and come up with a solution.

The superintendent can look up in a photographic images of common turfgrass diseases as well as weed and insect pests as well as information on each a variety of chemical control options for each pest issue. You can also find a map where you can see occurance of turfgrass diseases.

Probably the biggest strength of the mobile application will be the crowdsourcing function. When the application users' number will reach the critical mass users will be able to ask from other superintendents how to solve specific turfgrass disease.


Turfpath mobile application on Android

It seems to me, that the developers were able to overcome some of the most typical mistakes like:

  • not developing two-way communication channels;
  • forgetting engagement mechanism;

To my great surprise they chose a smart engagement mechanism: gamification. The more you use the app the more points and badges you will get (see Foursquares' badges). Earn points for reporting pest problems, commenting on others' questions, sharing information on social networks and various other ways.

Unfortunately, I can't rid of my "bad" habit to think about how to sell more or generate more leads. I had no chance to talk with John Kaminski, but they have to think about how to make their application more findable in Google Play and in iTunes.

Finally, I would look for cooperation with Syngenta or Bayer or BASF or others who are concerned with turfgrass diseases. Albeit BASF has just launched a similar, but less sophisticated mobile application with several mobile marketing mistakes.

My idea would be to facilitate online sales via Turfpath by connecting to these companies' webshop. Now as I am writing these senctences, I have to realize that non of these companies have webshop. What an annoyance!!