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Marketing specialist visits SVCC agribusiness students

R. Frank Timberlake, president of R. F. Timberlake & Company, Inc., traveled from Raleigh, N.C., to speak with Southside Virginia Community College’s agribusiness marketing students. His company is celebrating its 25th anniversary and recently received two American Graphic Awards, including one for its 25th anniversary logo.

Timberlake has worked on national and international advertising accounts, as well as local and regional ones.   He shared numerous examples of his marketing communications company working with businesses to attain success.  As a follow-up to his presentation, students were asked for their individual “take-aways” from the discussion.

Student and the course instructors shared the following memorable aspects of the talk.

Irving Palacios was struck by the fact that Timberlake did not pursue a college degree in marketing communications.  He was in his 25th year of leading a successful consulting company, even though that is not what he attended college to do.

Wade Bagley appreciated the real-world applications of materials that were being discussed in class.  He found it very interesting to hear about a particular example where a columnist’s negative piece in a newspaper led a firm to have to launch a multi-million dollar public relations campaign to basically un-do the damage a single column had done.  Wade pointed out that not all publicity is good.

Kaimonne Douglas appreciated how multi-million dollar business failures had been turned into successes. He indicated that it taught him not to settle for failure, but to overcome the failure. 

Nina Bowen recalled the four main challenges faced by new agribusiness enterprises: understanding production aspects, having the necessary cash and credit, having a business plan and having a strategic marketing plan.  She also appreciated that Timberlake was a co-founder of the Friends of Virginia’s Occoneechee State Park, the park where she is employed.

Amber Pero liked that she is creating a marketing plan as a class project, but Timberlake provided a real-world example of one and stressed why it is so important to have it.  She appreciates having real world examples to correlate with material learned in class.

Savannah Lowery mentioned the four agribusiness core components for success that were summarized following Timberlake’s examples of a business failure and a failure that was turned into a success: a saleable product with real and/or highly perceived value, ready cash and credit, a business plan and a marketing plan.

Stacey Davis highlighted the way that Timberlake marketed his own business throughout his presentation, noting that many of the slides in his presentation included contact information (company website, Facebook page, LinkedIn page, etc.) for his firm in the corner of the slides.

Molly Hunt re-iterated Timberlake’s advice of “doing your what-ifs before they do you.”  This was tied in to the contingency planning discussion from class and the necessity of planning for various scenarios when launching a new business idea.

Dr. Dixie Dalton, chair of SVCC’s agribusiness program, expressed appreciation to Timberlake for sharing his time and expertise with the class.  She shared with the students one of the descriptions that has been used to describe Timberlake’s combination of professionalism and down-to-earth style:  “He can go from Bubba to the board room and back again faster than a Ferrari can go from 0 to 60.” 

Lessons shared will have a lasting impact on the students as they decide where to make their marks in the business world.