Imagine if a client came to you with the challenge of helping them market a product or service to accountants. Then, they told you that the accountants do mechanical work on equipment too. They also trade in the commodities markets.
And they serve as purchasing agents, negotiating deals with international multi-billion dollar vendors. They also consider themselves part-time attorneys, regularly reviewing sophisticated contracts. And when they’re not doing that, they serves as plant biologists, soil analysts, HR specialists, environmentalists, veterinarians and part-time weather forecasters. They also face tight scrutiny of the government, so their operational records need to be clean and tidy at all times.
Pretty steep challenge, huh?
But that’s the reality of a farmer. Farming is one of the very few occupations where you need to wear such a wide variety of hats that it’s hard to find the time to consider making big changes in your business operation. There is already so much risk involved – from changing weather, market prices and political agendas – that it’s easy to see why a farmer would be skeptical about the need to change variables they already have some control over.
So, imagine trying to get that person’s attention … even for 30-seconds. Imagine trying to sell them a $200,000 piece of equipment. Or 100 bags of seed that looks just like the seed they planted last year, only with a different logo on the front. Or a cloud-based data storage solution.
How would you reach them? TV? Radio? Newspaper? Direct mail? The web?
What would your message be? Something funny and cute like you’d see on the Super Bowl? If so, it better be really good, because you’re competing with some of the biggest international companies in the world. Companies that likely spend more money on market research or a single trade show than you might have in your annual marketing budget.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned over our 100+ years in this business, it’s that there is no silver bullet to marketing in the ag industry. It takes smart strategy. It takes precise messaging. It takes a broad understanding of the industry and all of the dynamics that impact it. It takes being nimble. It takes smart, creative ideas. And it takes consistency.
So why do we do it? Why wouldn’t we just settle for marketing simple things like shampoo or cookies or fast food sandwiches? Why do we take on the challenge of what is arguably the toughest marketing job in the world with multiple clients? Because marketing to the toughest audience in the world is a lot like body-building for your brain. The more you do it, the stronger you get. It makes you think harder, which makes you a smarter, more strategic marketer. Marketing brain muscle that can then be used to solve any marketing challenge in any industry.
Plus, if it weren’t agri-marketers helping farmers find better ways to improve their operations so they can grow more and profit more, there would likely be less food for this world. And, of course, we like to eat!