For decades, tried-and-true marketing methods like direct mail, print ads and more have consistently delivered results for agri-marketers. Unfortunately, the success of those methods isn’t what it used to be, leading many to adopt more modern techniques.
A new era of farming calls for new marketing techniques. Technology, consolidation among both inputs and growers, and increased consumer demands are all contributing to a changing pattern of decision making among agribusinesses.
Consider the top four areas where agri-marketing is shifting the most rapidly.
1. Technology Adoption is on the Rise
Rapid advancements in technology distribution have disrupted agriculture in an unprecedented way. Technological tools, like computers and social media, as well as precision agriculture devices, are changing the way that farmers do their work.
With the advent of new technologies on the farm and a new interconnectedness between farmers and their peers, it’s important to reach them where they are. Here are a few examples:
- Email marketing will help you send personalized, trackable and profitable messages to your farmers.
- Programmatic ad spend helps you put your dollars toward the precise audience you’re trying to reach, not a particular website.
- Social media ads - particularly Facebook - help you break through the clutter and place your information right in front of farmers.
This doesn’t mean that traditional methods are dead. However, it does mean that you can’t take those channels for granted. Continually test new methods against the old to see what gives you the best engagement and ROI.
Either way, your marketing strategy needs to take into account that farmers are increasingly spending time interacting with messages online. So make sure you’re connecting with them through all these channels, and not just through the mail.
2. Aging Farmers are Retiring
While the age of the average farmer hovers somewhere around 60 years old, it’s important to recognize that a number of these farmers are retiring and leaving their property to younger farmers or selling off to management firms. The marketing channels that you used to reach older farmers may no longer prove relevant with the new wave of farmers - particularly Millennial farmers.
Take time to understand farm ownership among the farms you work with and determine whether your current marketing strategies are really the best for those farmers specifically. Just because an average number of farmers across the country are a certain age or have certain preferences doesn’t mean that these statistics accurately represent farmers in your market.
Data on farm ownership and those next in line for ownership of farms in your territory can give you the information you need to adjust your marketing messages for those you work with on a daily basis.
3. Niche Markets are Expanding
Niche markets are growing in popularity and profitability for the farmers who pursue them. Not only are popular niches, like organic farming, attracting new farmers, but new niche markets of all sorts are cropping up across the country.
The 2018 Farm Bill, if passed, seeks to provide more stability for the market overall and also for speciality crops in particular. So niche markets are not only going to have the opportunity to expand, they’ll hopefully be stepping into a market that’s more stable than the one we’ve had for the last five years.
Changing consumer habits and government regulations contribute to an increasing concentration of farmers focusing on things like specialty crops and atypical growing practices. Use data on your farmers’ crop outputs to learn more about which niches farmers in your territory are already pursuing.
4. Farmers are Savvy to Marketing Tactics in Other Fields
Because farmers are spending more time interacting with brands online, they’re spending more time interacting with marketing tactics employed across other industries.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with new marketing messaging beyond the all too common “farmer in the field” messaging the industry is known for. Farmers are increasingly sensitive to the messages around them, so make your messaging fresh and memorable.
The world of marketing has changed, but reaching your target audience and leaving a memorable impression is easier than ever. Small tweaks to your marketing strategies can allow you to reach younger, niche and tech savvy farmers with the messages that they want to hear.