The Cattle Business: Why Relationships Matter More Than Hype

Brahman Bull with Brahman Cow

May 28, 2024

In today’s fast-paced, digital world, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype and believe what you’re told. After all, most of us are good-hearted, trustworthy people, so we expect others to be too. 

When you see someone touting numbers or claiming they’re “sold out” or have “limited inventory left,” it’s natural to infer that something magical is happening. But, just like marriages, you never truly know what’s going on behind closed doors…

The Social Media Mirage

It’s important to recognize that social media is a marketing tool. Even if the photos or videos aren’t slick or well-produced… even if the caption is written to seem humble… there’s an intention behind it.

In marketing, your goals are to educate, entertain, engage, and inspire so that a transaction can occur. And it’s that last part that’s crucial. The more someone vaunts themselves, the more they’re looking to get from you. Sure, social media has a place in the Brahman world, but we believe it should be backed up by data, reputation, and results. 

Because social media numbers don’t always translate to sales. Here’s an example. 

At V8 Ranch, we could easily flaunt our impressive social media statistics – 50,000 YouTube subscribers and 6.9 million views – and make people believe we’re killing it. But the truth is, those numbers haven’t directly generated a single dollar for our business.

We recently conducted a little experiment to see if promoting YouTube ads would generate more sales for us. Here’s how it went.

This view is from March 21, 2020 – March 26, 2024. What you’ll notice is our total YouTube subscribers stayed about the same until we ran the ads. Then, our subscriber count jumped from around 10,000 to 30,000.

Here’s another view that shows the growth during the week we ran paid ads:

Looks impressive, right?

In seven days, we promoted five videos, spending about $500 to rack up around 90,000 views and around 20,000 new subscribers.

If we told you that we doubled our YouTube following in just one week for just $500, you might think we’re crushing the game. And you might want to get in on it too. After all, if we’re able to do it for ourselves—and we have the receipts—of course, you’d be tempted to pay us to learn our secret sauce.

But it doesn’t necessarily translate to revenue. And that’s the part of the story unscrupulous people don’t tell you.

The fact is, you can buy views. You can buy likes. You can buy followers. But those vanity metrics don’t necessarily lead to more business.

While our videos might serve as a touchpoint that convinces someone to buy from us down the road, we have yet to see a clear, direct impact on our bottom line. This doesn’t mean that our YouTube presence is worthless – it still helps us connect with our audience and share valuable information – but it’s crucial to understand that impressive numbers don’t always equal impressive revenue.

The Illusion of Success

The same goes for buying Brahman cattle. You can see that a ranch is collecting awards, posting unfathomable sales numbers, and promoting a “self-made success” image, but not all is what it seems.

For instance, we’ve seen a growing trend of record sales numbers being shouted on social media, but when you look deeper, they’re not really true. One example is this “valuation” sales report scheme

In this case, the breeder will sell a one-half interest in an animal, let’s say it’s $25,000, and then double it in order to promote to the world that the animal “sold” for $50,000. How did they get this math? Well, they’re counting their own half interest in the animal, which is not how sales averages are calculated. 

Yet, when you see these high numbers from the same breeder repeatedly, you may begin to believe they have some modern-day magic brewing in their cattle—when it’s simply smoke and mirrors.

Run Your Own Race

Our advice? Run your own race. The only ranch you need to compete against is your own. Look at your numbers and make strategic decisions based on your goals and desires. 

Do your homework. Ask people you trust in the industry before you go into business with an unknown factor.

Don’t get caught up in comparisons or FOMO from what you see online. You have no idea what’s really going on behind closed barn doors. 

Just like our YouTube example, you could be super impressed by our marketing prowess, but the truth is, that’s not a business driver for us. What drives our business is caring about people, treating them as valuable humans, building long-term relationships, and being of service.

The Power of Human Connection

A great example of this happened recently when we attended the 2024 ABBA International Show in Houston. Not only were thrilled to showcase our cattle, but we were also thrilled to see our friends! As ranchers, most of the time we’re heads down taking care of our animals, shipping them off to excited buyers worldwide, and refining our genetics to produce the next great crop of calves. So these shows are a wonderful opportunity to see old friends, meet new ones, check out their cattle, and generally be social and friendly.

One of our long-time friends, who regularly buys from another Brahman cattle ranch and has never bought from us before, was there, and we had a lovely time just catching up. No business talk at all. 

Weeks later, they called us up because they wanted to come by the ranch and see a specific bull they saw show at Houston. After we toured the ranch and visited the bull, we shared our pricing, not expecting it to go anywhere. Lo and behold, they became a first-time customer. 

Sure, it was because the bull was a great choice for their breeding program, but the number one reason they decided to finally buy from us was the human touch.

They said, “At Houston, you came over and talked with us without asking for anything. You were just nice and friendly. We want to be in business with people who care about us – not just our pocketbooks.”

It may seem small, but often, the difference between being a success and just looking like a success is the human touch. After all, we’re in the people business as much as we are in the cattle business.

Slow Growth Builds Deep Roots

The point we’re making is that it doesn’t matter how successful someone looks on the outside. Often, they yell their accolades because no one else is doing it for them. 

You get to define what success looks like to you. You don’t have to compete with anyone, spread misinformation to look good, or pretend to be something you’re not. You can still see results in your bottom line being exactly who you are.

So, focus on what truly matters – the quality of your cattle and the relationships you build. Success will follow when you prioritize these two things above all else. 

Don’t get caught up in the hype or the numbers game. Instead, be a good human, care about others, and provide exceptional service. That’s the secret to success in our industry.

When you work with V8, you can count on transparency, integrity, and shared commitment to your success. After nearly 80 years in the business, we’ve seen marketing trends come and go—and are still standing here long after they have fallen away.

Ready to experience the V8 difference? 

Contact us today to schedule a ranch tour and see firsthand why integrity and relationships are at the heart of everything we do.

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1 Comment

  1. JPhillips

    Thank you so much for writing this! It hits so hard on so many points for me. And is encouragement and a reminder that not all is as it appears.


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