How to Market New Agriculture Products

Posted by Timothy Wier On February 21, 2018

 

How to market new agriculture products

 

You’ve spent months – maybe years – in research and development, creating a product that’s going to change the market. Or, at least, impact it enough to get some new business for your company. Now that you have a product, it’s time to start marketing.

So how make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck in marketing your new agriculture product?

(Note: This article is part of the "Marketing to Farmers" series. Click here to  read the free guide.)

This article will walk you through step-by-step how to take a product to market in a way that’ll achieve maximum impact and profitability for your company.

 

1. Understand who’s going to need your product

Not everyone is going to need your product. And among those people who do need it, only a percentage is going to actually purchase it. So it makes no sense to market the product to everyone.

That then begs the question: who should you market to?

This is why it’s important to start your product launch with a well-developed strategy. If you’re launching your product with no idea of who’s going to buy, then you’re going to waste ad spend and employee hours that could’ve been put to better use.

Beware the big mistake some agribusinesses make: don’t assume you know your market. While you may know your customers well, if you haven’t done a full analysis of the market and you’re place in it, you could be going in based on faulty assumptions.

The first step to figuring out who’s going to need your product is to do a market share analysis. Figure out how much of the market you’re already doing business with. And then figure out what segments of the market you could be doing business with, and who actually are going to need your product.

Here are a few tips:

  • Make sure you market to farmers who can afford your product. This is where knowing Gross Farm Income data can help you.
  • Make sure farmers can actually use your product to better grow or harvest their crops. To do that, you’ll need to know crop history and crop rotation data.
  • Make sure the farmer is farming a large (or small) enough farm to justify using your product. This is where knowing the farm size data can help.
  • And, finally, make sure you market to people who are managing the farms, not simply the owners. This is where knowing owner vs. operator vs. owner-operator data can come in handy.

Once you have a grasp on who your target audience is, you’ve got a strategy that’ll help you market your new agriculture product.

 

2. Create ads and content that appeal to their needs

Now that you know who’s going to need your product, then it’s time to create advertising content that will appeal to their needs.

There are two main categories of content to consider when reaching out to a new potential audience. The first is lead generation content. This is designed to reach people who may not be currently interested in the product, but who you think may be a good fit.

The content here is meant to generate interest in what your business does, educate the prospects on parts of the market that you’re an expert on and, eventually, generate their interest in your specific products.

Lead gen content should not discuss your products. If you try to sell to people this early in the process, then you’re going to turn them off and lose any potential business you could have had with them. Instead, focus on content that helps them with their day-to-day jobs. Blog posts, eBooks, checklists, self-evaluation tools are just a few examples of lead gen content.

The second category is product marketing content. This content is meant for people who are immediately interested in what you have to offer. The goal here is not to sell – the salespeople can do that – but to explain what your products or services can do for them and, as applicable, how they differ from the competition.

It’s important that you create content for both kinds of audiences. Without lead gen content, you’ll miss out on people who are good fits for your business, but just aren’t ready to buy yet and need more information. Without product marketing content, you won’t attract people who are actively looking for products like yours and are ready to talk features and pricing sooner rather than later.

Your ad creative is going to vary based on your audience. This is where having a strategy based on the data we discussed earlier will come into play.

But regardless of the direction you want to go with the creative, understanding and appealing to these two broad segments of the market is going to be crucial to maximizing the effectiveness of your ad campaigns.

 

3. Serve those ads and content to your target audience

Once you’ve designed ads that are going to appeal to a target audience, you’ll want to make sure those ads are served to that same target audience.

Why is this important? Simply put, if you serve ads to someone who’s not interested in your product it has a doubly negative affect:

  • It’s a waste of ad spend. Every dollar you spend on ad placement is a dollar you should expect a return on. If you’re spending money serving your ad to an irrelevant audience, you’re wasting those dollars. Instead, maximize the impact of your dollars by serving the ad to people who are actually interested in it.
  • It gives your brand a bad image. Your brand image is vital to your success as an agribusiness. When you try to sell to people who aren’t interested, that hurts your brand.

To make sure you’re only marketing to people who would make a good potential audience for your business, use programmatic advertising. This means that your ad will only be served to the audiences that you’ve defined – based on the data you uncovered when building your strategy.

Go a step further. Take that same data and load it into Facebook, and use those targeted Facebook ads to reach the same people as the people you’re marketing to programmatically.

Now, the people who need to see your ads are going to see them. Your ad dollars are actually going to make an impact, versus a “spray and pray” approach.

 

4. Convert, then nurture

Every ad should have a call-to-action. With digital ads – both display ads and social media ads – it’s easier than ever for people to convert. They don’t have to memorize an email address or phone number. Instead, they can take action from wherever they are, both desktop and mobile.

While you may reach someone who’s ready to buy in the moment or is at least interested in the new product, you’ll likely convert someone who’s a top-of-funnel person. This is someone who’s going to convert by downloading an evaluation tool or an eBook – or just filled out a form to stay in touch.

Since your product is new, that’s to be expected. Take this as an opportunity to regularly communicate through a nurture campaign, with the hopes of educating them enough so they’ll want to inquire about the products.

Here’s an overview of lead nurture campaigns, and here are some examples of nurture emails to help you out.

 

5. Empower your sales reps to have meaningful conversations

When you use this model, you can guarantee that a potential customer is a good fit, interested in your business and has expressed some desire to learn more about your products before they get in touch with a salesperson. That’s a great place to be in.

However, it’s not over until the contract is signed. And that’s why, just like your strategy and marketing team has been using data all along, your sales reps should also be empowered to use data.

Here are some ways that sales reps can use data to have better sales conversations:

  • Identify pain points. While farmers have needs that are pretty common, there are some that they uniquely hold. Click here to learn about ways you can use data to identify farmers’ pain points.
  • Bring meaning into conversations. You don’t want your reps to spend their time making small talk, but you don’t want them to come across as too aggressive either and scare farmers off. Here are some tips for how to bring meaning into sales conversations with the power of data.
  • Tell stories that resonate. Institutions may respond to numbers, but people respond to stories. The key to a successful sales presentation is to tell a story that resonates with the farmer. Here are some tips for how to do just that.

But data isn’t just about the people you’ve already been prospecting to. By giving your sales team the same data your marketing team has, they can prospect the same audiences and build connections that are already part of the your target market.

By working together off the same data, your marketing and sales teams will be rowing in the same direction, bringing more success to your business.

 

6. Observe, record, analyze and adjust

Once you’ve had some time to implement your product launch, usually a couple of months or so, you’ll collect enough data to be able to analyze and adjust your continuing efforts.

If you are collecting data in real time, you’re going to find places to adjust. Perhaps one ad is performing above all the rest – modify your other ads to reflect that. Maybe one of your sales reps closed a big deal – use some of the details from the conversation to inform future marketing messaging.

Here are some metrics you can track to ensure you’re responsive to the information you collect:

  • Conversions from ads
  • Qualified leads from nurture campaigns
  • Close rates
  • New business earned ($)
  • Return on investment
  • Increase in market share
  • Increase in share of wallet for existing customers (if applicable)

By monitoring these results, you can make adjustments and ensure that your campaign is fine-tuned to your audience. Then, watch sales of your new product go up as your market responds.

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