Modern technology puts more power in the marketer’s hands. Instead of blasting your message out and hoping the right person will stumble across it, you can build and market to the perfect audience for your own business.
As ag companies move away from using audience marketing, direct placement ads and direct mail as their primary modes of communication, agri-marketers are able to make better connections with farmers. Specifically, they get to choose their ideal audience and ensure that their message only goes out to them.
Instead of trying to out-do your competitors in getting attention, why don’t you double down and craft a message that your ideal customer will get? Then use technology to deliver ads to that perfect audience.
If this sounds too good to be true, it isn’t. Building the perfect audience for your business and marketing to them is something that’s within your reach.
Here is a step-by-step guide.
Start with your value proposition – and work backwards
The ultimate goal for your agribusiness has been, is and always will be revenue. Every step you take in strategy, marketing and sales should be geared toward getting you closer to your revenue number.
Whether it’s a given profit margin or gross revenue, meeting your number is your number one objective.
Take a look at the products and services you offer. Then take a look at your number. And then ask yourself: Who’s the best audience to get me to that number by purchasing my products and services?
Another way to look at it: Who’s going to benefit the most from what you’re offering?
Both of these questions really are addressing the same core issue, but from two different directions. The first question looks at the value that the customer can offer to your business. The second looks at the value you offer to the customer.
Either way, building your perfect audience means starting with your value proposition and working backwards.
Here are some ways to do that:
- Start by talking to current customers. The people you’ve done business with in the past are going to be a great asset for figuring this out. While they don’t represent the entirety of the market, they do understand the pain points that your product or service responds to. So start with these farmers and be sure to ask questions that get to the bottom of what value you offer to them and why.
- Analyze your internal customer data. Not only can you gather qualitative information from talking to customers, but there’s a lot of quantitative information you can get just by looking at the numbers. What’s the age range for your current customers? What crops do they grow? What size operation do you usually sell to? Crunching the numbers can gain you some important insights.
- Remember that your current customer may not be your ideal customer. While looking at your current customers is a valuable exercise, keep it in the proper context. Your current customers don’t represent the entirety of your market. Always be thinking about other farmers who could benefit from your products or services – and don’t be shy about doing research to find out who else could be a good fit.
Use this research to get an idea of who your ideal customer is. This may be more than one person. But once you have an idea, you can start to build out that audience through data and targeted research.
The goal is to look for the intersection of who gains the most from you and who you gain the most from as a business.
Identify the 6-10 demographics of your ideal audience
After you have an idea of the kind of people who comprise your ideal audience, then you can start quantifying that to guide your research.
“Someone like Joe Smith” may be good for anecdotal reference or preparing your sales team to have conversations, but it certainly doesn’t help with targeted marketing and, really, isn’t as powerful as a picture that’s build on the foundation of data.
The key is to look at your ideal audience that you determined in the previous section and make it more concrete by assigning specific demographics to it. Here are some examples of demographics you could list out:
- Crop type / rotation pattern
- Gross Farm Income for high-dollar products
- Number of acres farmed
- Specialty vs. commodity
- Geographic location
- Number of individual farm fields operated
- Amount of land owned, not just operated
These are just a few examples – the Farm Market iD database has over 200 demographics to choose from, so you can see how detailed and granular you can get with your audience.
Then you want to repeat this process for as many segments as you have.
Once you’ve figured out your target demographics, then you know what to look for when building your prospect lists.
Build your prospect lists based on those demographics
Then take those demographics and use them to guide and focus your prospect research efforts. Then find the prospects who meet those demographics, and add them to your list.
Here are three ways you can do this:
- Source your own data through intensive research. This may seem like the most cost effective option, but sourcing your own data is so time-consuming and difficult and requires a specific skill set and knowledge set that you’re probably going to end up losing more dollars in opportunity cost than you “saved” by DIY’ing the data. Plus, a lot of the publicly available sources lack the granularity of information that other sources have, meaning that you won’t get the detail you’re looking for.
- Survey farmers to get information. Again, this is fraught with problems. Surveys are incredibly unreliable as a source for hard facts (read more about that here), and, again, you’ll be spending more time gathering prospects than reaching out to them and closing deals.
- Get your data from a third-party source. Not only is finding a professional data provider going to be able to get you the best data possible (here’s what we mean by that) but you’re also going to get support and maintenance that you wouldn’t get from anyone else.
A third-party data source is going to be your best bet if you want to maximize your investment and minimize lost opportunities.
Use marketing technology to deliver messages to this audience.
After you build this list, you can use digital marketing technology to launch a campaign that’s integrated across multiple channels. Here are a few examples:
- Email campaigns. Once you have email addresses for your audience, you can send a customized message that explains the exact benefits that you offer to them.
- Targeted programmatic. Digital ads are no longer acquired through direct placement. Instead, use your list to deliver targeted ads to your audience and only to your audience.
- Facebook ads. Upload your prospect lists to Facebook to share content with them directly.