By Jorge Abrego
Advertising Director of Acres U.S.A.
Ag suppliers who embrace the rapid adaption of regenerative agriculture systems by an increasing number of farmers understand the value of a comprehensive or holistic approach to their marketing. Before applying tactics to make the “phone ring,” they’ve thought through what, how and why their marketing strategy will work to bring about the outcomes they’re looking for.
Like in regenerative ag, there is no “one thing” that will deliver the desired results, but rather a series of activities designed and executed within a strategic framework that yields greater outcomes than each individual activity. This rings true for most companies. But if that’s the case, then why don’t more companies apply this to their marketing?
Let’s examine why many companies fail to craft and execute a comprehensive marketing strategy. Better stated, why do they keep trying the latest and greatest one thing that promises to make the skies open up and rain business?
To begin with, they don’t start at the beginning with the end in mind. Like all successful organizations, regenerative ag suppliers must ask, answer and clarify some fundamental questions.
Why Do We Exist?
An organization’s core purpose – why it exists – needs to be idealistic. To successfully identify a company’s purpose, they must buy into the notion that they exist to make people’s lives better. Every employee at every level needs to know that at the heart of what they do lies something aspirational, and your company’s marketing should consistently communicate this in both subtle and clear ways.
How Do We Behave?
Stated differently, these are the company’s core values, Successful companies adhere to a fundamental set of principles which drives their actions both inwardly through their employees and outwardly toward their customers. Your core values should always inform and be a strategic anchor for your messaging in the marketplace.
How Will We Succeed?
A defined business strategy is at the core of a marketing strategy. Simply put, it’s a plan to succeed comprised of a collection of intentional decisions that provide the best chance to thrive and differentiate yourself from competitors. Fundamentally, your competitive positioning (Brand Strategy) must convey your unique attributes and key advantages across all your communications and media touch points to establish trust and credibility. If you’ve invested time in determining that the reason for existence and your core values are outward-oriented or customer-centric, then your marketing strategy should include them as strategic anchors.
From a marketing standpoint, crafting your messaging, creating assets and executing media campaigns (paid, earned and owned) should reflect your core purpose and your core values from the perspective of why it matters to your end users. Starting at the beginning with the end in mind means demonstrating why your product, service or new initiative solves a tangible problem from the perspective of your audience. Your solution to their problem is best communicated by focusing on pursuing their interests and objectives through information and insight. Referred to as Thought Leadership, your marketing strategy should educate your audience to approach using your solution as a piece of the holistic regenerative ag system puzzle.
The Sales and Marketing Conundrum
Another common reason why ag suppliers fall short of crafting a comprehensive marketing strategy is the conflation of sales and marketing. Organizations that understand the difference are in better position to develop and execute strategies that enables each discipline to achieve its intended objectives.
Though obviously related, sales and marketing are two different disciplines that impact distinct stages of the buyers’ journey in achieving the company’s business objectives. Metaphorically, marketing sows and sales reaps. Marketing prepares the ground (heart and mind), plants the seed (provides information) and waters the field (engages and nurtures) so that sales can harvest the greatest possible yield.
Marketing’s role is to facilitate and maximize sales volume, while the sales process should serve as a key source of customer insight and data that helps inform and continuously refine the marketing strategy. While sales closes the deal, marketing identifies the greatest number of qualified prospects and establishes the dialogue to enable fruitful sales activity that achieves revenue goals. Their symbiotic, yet specialized functions are a true representation of the principle of inputs and outcomes
Regenerative agriculture is a movement and mindset that is transforming the way people nourish their bodies, improve the environment and conduct business. Across the entire eco-system, it has captured the imagination of growers, researchers, investors and consumers because it is universal in its impact. More than solving for soil depletion, carbon sequestration and nutrient density, regenerative ag provides a holistic approach to improving the environment, nourishing our bodies and enhancing the way we do commerce.
This transformative innovation is having a profound impact on society that is reaching the point of no-return because it seeks a loftier agenda than improved air quality, more efficient production strategies or a new business model. The fundamental purpose of this approach to food-sourcing focuses on people and their ability to thrive in an actual sustainable manner. In business as in life, success is not a purpose to pursue, but the natural outcome of pursuing the genuine interests of people.
I’m optimistic that regenerative agriculture will surge forward in transforming lives and inspiring those of us in business to pursue the interests of the people whom our offerings serve.
Jorge Abrego is the Advertising Director for Acres U.S.A. and has 26 years of advertising agency and B2B media experience in the agriculture, energy and technology sectors.