By Jorge Abrego
Advertising Director of Acres U.S.A.
While integrated marketing is not new, B2B agricultural audiences are now being exposed to a greater number of channels and their media consumption habits continue to evolve. At the same time, farmers and ranchers are looking for more specific content and ideas that can bridge the gap from “good to know” to “need to implement” for improving their operations.
As a marketer, you need to pull all your brand’s message points together into one cohesive whole to ensure that the message is not disjointed and confusing. Especially today when your audience is bombarded right and left with news and information of every ilk, integrated marketing enables your company to relay one clear message, regardless of the channel.
Promoting a message through multiple channels that work together and reinforce one another provides the best opportunity for breaking through with expanded reach, increased frequency and with greater resonance amid the noise and distractions. Communication is considered most effective when messages are conveyed with minimal disruption and have the greatest clarity.
Understanding Your Target Audience
When developing an integrated marketing plan, it is important to thoroughly analyze and understand the target audience in two key areas – their media channel consumption habits, and their level of knowledge relative to your product’s subject matter. For the purposes of this article we will focus on the former by delving into which content delivery channels are most useful from the perspective of farmers and ranchers.
The Ag Media Council’s 2020 media channel study was released in May and it provides important insights on the media consumption habits of farmers and ranchers and the implications of those findings. As is the case in all B2B media studies, print, digital and in-person resources each play a point-specific role in the purchasing process in the ag market even as more options are being added to the mix of channels that farmers and ranchers are engaging with.. Here is a summary of some of the more important findings.
The first survey question asked, “How often do you usually read, view, visit or use the following type of media or information source?”
The media choices provided numbered eighteen (18) ranging from magazine, enewsletters, websites and mobile apps, to radio, TV, email, direct mail and farm trade shows. Interestingly ag magazines/newspapers ranked number one at 93% of respondents on a monthly basis, with ag enewsletters and ag websites at 81% tying for number two.
The answer to the same question on a weekly basis was ag magazines/newspapers coming in at number one again at 73%, with ag enewsletters coming in second at 66% and ag websites coming in third at 63%. Interestingly, when this same question was asked of those farmers and ranchers who self-describe as Daily Digital Users – 73% said they use print on a weekly basis.
When the survey asked, “What are the top two choices from where you first learn about new agricultural products, equipment, services or suppliers?” With the same media choices provided, the number one answer was ag magazine/newspapers at 63%, with ag enewlstters and ag websites again tying for second at 18% respectively.
Finally this question was asked, “Which of these information sources do you use at each point in the decision-making process for agricultural products, equipment, services and or suppliers?”
Now for this question there were four stages or points of decision that respondents were asked to answer about:
- Start Thinking About Purchase – ag magazines/newspapers were number one at 52%.
- Begin Researching Options – ag websites were number one at 30%.
- Narrow Down Choices- ag websites was number one at 31%.
- Make Final Decision – ag dealers/retailers was the number one choice at 40%.
The full contents of the Ag Media Council’s 2020 Media Channel Study are available at this link by becoming a member. Alternatively I can provide a PDF of the study by contacting me at email@example.com.
Some Key Findings
The agricultural market is dynamic, and yet consistent in many ways. Farmers and ranchers use a wide range of media to find information on how to manage and improve their operations. But while the use of digital and mobile channels continues to steadily increase over time, traditional media such as ag magazines/newspaper continue to be a top source even among those who are heavy digital users.
Marketers looking to drive traffic to their website should leverage a variety channels, but ag magazines/newspapers are still the leading channel for driving new visitors to websites. In agriculture, the purchase cycle is supported by all media channels; print, online and in-person and therefore each should be considered for engaging potential customers at each stage.
Ultimately, ag marketers should consider a diverse but integrated media strategy for achieving maximum market penetration, breaking through with clarity across all touch points, and driving engagement at every stage of the purchasing funnel. As a result, they can gain a real competitive edge by building brand momentum and growing sales in a more efficient manner.
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.