From Oil Patch to Drone Patch: Fargo firm devotes new division to drone marketing
FARGO - Rather than home to the Oil Patch, North Dakota will likely soon be best known as home of the Drone Patch, say representatives of Absolute Marketing Group. In anticipation, the Fargo firm recently debuted Launchboxx, a division that will ...
FARGO – Rather than home to the Oil Patch, North Dakota will likely soon be best known as home of the Drone Patch, say representatives of Absolute Marketing Group. In anticipation, the Fargo firm recently debuted Launchboxx, a division that will focus exclusively on drone advertising and marketing.
Brian Jorvig, a drone marketing specialist for Launchboxx, said Absolute is the first marketing firm to focus on the industry.
"We're the first one in the world, as far as we know, that has a dedicated team of people for drone marketing," he said.
Jorvig said there are several reasons North Dakota is poised to become a hub for the UAS (unmanned aircraft systems) industry. One is that agriculture is currently one of the biggest markets for drones. Another is that the state's landscape is perfect for drone testing.
Also beneficial is that North Dakota's government officials are supportive of the drone industry. The state has invested more than $34 million to establish the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site near Grand Forks, where companies can test their drone technology. Jorvig said there are only five similar testing sites in the country.
Jorvig and MacDalton Berns, a partner at Absolute, came up with the idea for Launchboxx together, but he has spearheaded the project. Jorvig has always been interested in flight and became a licensed pilot himself a few years ago. When he heard about a local Drone Focus meetup group, he began to attend meetings and was excited by what he heard.
"As I started learning more about drones, I knew we were on the verge of an industry that would absolutely explode. One that could change things all over the world, really," he said.
Jorvig believes the potential for drones is similar to that of the personal computer back in the late 1970s.
"This is one of those industries just like the personal computer industry back in the late '70s and early '80s where there is so much potential for it that everybody knows and they're trying to get on board," he said.
Jorvig quickly realized companies would need to be able to stand out from the pack, so he reached out to area drone expert Shawn Muehler for advice. Muehler is the COO and co-founder of Botlink LLC, a tech company that specializes in extending drone battery life as well as in software that notifies pilots if they are flying close to another aircraft or into a restricted airspace.
Muehler agreed a marketing firm that specialized in drone technology was a good idea.
"He was wondering if there was any public relations representative in the industry or any sort of marketing agencies within the drone industry. Quite frankly, there is not. We have to either do it ourselves or find an agency that doesn't know the industry that well because it's so new," he said.
Muehler became a client and has spent the past few months helping the Launchboxx team learn all they can about drones, from how they fly to their potential uses.
Absolute has also purchased its own drone. They have filed the necessary paperwork with the FAA that will allow them to fly it commercially. Berns said the drone will allow them to enhance the photography and video services they provide to all of their clients.
Absolute Marketing Group will celebrate 10 years in business in April. Berns said over that time, the company has been a pioneer in areas such as social media, text marketing, website content management systems, responsive website design and mobile apps. He said drone marketing is another example of the company's ability to anticipate and satisfy their clients' needs.
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