Brian Kohlmann

Group Leader, Account Management

A look ahead on National Ag Day

This week, we’ll celebrate the accomplishments of agriculture and the people and businesses that successfully feed the world. At Bader Rutter, on days like today, we abandon the language of “how far we’ve come” in agriculture and instead spend the day looking ahead to what’s next. There are five things on the horizon we think every agricultural marketer must look to as they support the industry.  

The domestic and global volatility in agriculture forces marketers to plan for change. Change inside and outside our industry is volatile. We are facing uncertainty as we watch the sweeping changes our new administration is making to health care, immigration and global trade. A wait-and-see approach may feel prudent, but disruption will not always come from the usual suspects. Marketers are uniquely positioned to not only spot change but are best equipped to engage leadership in what they see. Watchful eyes across multiple industries will help businesses and marketers see through the fog of change and adapt to the new order.

The voice of the customer is important, but the voice of the consumer is vital. Consumer influence on the supply chain is driving significant change, especially in agriculture. To respond to very organized and consistent messages from those speaking to the ag space, those in agriculture must work for the same consistency. It isn’t enough to focus only on the voice of your immediate customer. From environmental concerns to sustainability, GMO and food labels to antibiotic use there is a growing need for a common voice from one end of the value chain to the other, offering transparency to the process and telling the other side of the story.

It’s still about the data. Big data, small data. It doesn’t matter. If you don’t know how to leverage your data, you’re falling behind. On farm and in field, hearts and mind, you must be able to tie together the data to find key insights and deliver customized experiences. Programs boasting personalized content and account-based marketing are certainly responses to what data offers, but simple, measured steps work, too. Again, marketers are in a unique position to recognize the possibilities of behavioral targeting and all that carefully curated data offers — and to forge new relationships with the CIO.

Technology is sexy, but talk is cheap. Technology looms as both savior and challenger. Beware the buzz: Augmented. Virtual. Beacons. Fences. The temptation to take on the latest technology is great, but if it’s not built on strategy, it won’t deliver. There are real, affordable ways to integrate technology into customer experiences, especially when you build from core marketing principles: Campaigns should always lead with true insights. Technology adoption in agricultural marketing requires a commitment to strategic use of new technologies to deliver an experience that enhances and builds on key campaign messages.  

Innovate or die. On National Ag Day and every day, we face the challenge of more people, more food demand, less land and fewer resources. Innovation isn’t a catchphrase or an ideal, it’s a necessity. In agriculture, innovation is new methods, equipment, packaging, delivery — we own an entire supply chain, and each link must deliver in the face of new consumption pressures as the world continues to grow. We at Bader Rutter love agriculture. What gets us up in the morning, though, is the number of opportunities it presents for new methods, better data and innovation across industries. The industry is worth celebrating, today and every day. But because we embrace change, we’re even more excited about what we’re going to see tomorrow.


Brian Kohlmann is a group leader at Bader Rutter and one of our many dairy experts.  He has a passion for the ag industry. Working across many sectors in the past, he currently leads the dairy animal health business for BR.  Brian has a deep knowledge of multi-channel marketing strategy, data and analytics that spans two decades.  Read more from Brian here, or to connect with him, email us at

Industry: Agriculture

Topic: How We Think, Marketing


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