Gina Biel

Media Director

Market to the multitasker

Not too many years ago, reaching producers was an exercise in patience and perseverance. If you wanted to talk with a producer on the phone, the best way to reach them was calling around the noon hour, early in the morning or late at night (very late, if it was during harvest or planting). Short of leaving a message and hoping it didn’t get buried in a pile, intrepid salespeople had to know every field or back road in order to find and connect with the producer. 

So much has changed. Now, reaching a producer can take many forms: cellphones, emails, messaging — just to name the most direct. It’s never been easier to reach someone directly. 

Sounds easy. The bottom line, however, is that you are still competing for a producer’s time. And a producer’s time has never been more filled with messages from all sources — some old, some new — that require today’s producer to be a master at juggling a variety of tasks in a single 24-hour day. 

We’ve become multitaskers. Producers have always had the radio on while working in the field. Yet today they might be calling suppliers, looking at a new product video, listening to a webcast AND still have the radio on in the background. For agrimarketers, getting your message out has never been easier — or more challenging. 

It’s called cross-channel consumption. In a nutshell, it’s our way of determining what channels, or sources, of information that a consumer (or producer, in our research) uses at the same time. What it shows us is just how prevalent multitasking has become and just how important it is to develop a comprehensive marketing communications program that allows your message to reach producers. 

The 2016 Future of Communications StudyFor instance, in our latest biennial Future of Communications (FOC) Audience Insights Study, our data shows that 68 percent of the respondents are reading a magazine while watching television. And considering that our data also shows that agricultural magazines are the most highly ranked source of general industry information (at 69 percent), the strong correlation between reading a magazine and watching television would indicate that for agricultural advertisers, message frequency could be more quickly achieved by focusing on these two channels. 

But simply looking at one set of data can cloud the marketing picture. Our data also shows that producers did many things while watching television: looking at their smartphone, working on their computer or working at their tablet. They could be answering emails, researching a new product or even looking for additional information on something they saw on television. 

Interestingly enough, there are some real multitaskers out there. Six percent of the respondents said they were watching television AND listening to the radio. 

Radio had the next highest cross-channel consumption level. That’s likely an indication of the passive nature of radio: Producers are more able to engage with other channels while having the radio on in the background. 

Advertisers must work harder than ever to get their message out. What our study indicates is that the prevalence of cross-channel consumption — at some level — across all channels makes the implementation of an effective overall media mix more crucial than ever.

For more insights, sign up to receive a free copy of our 2016 Future of Communications (FOC) Audience Insights Study as soon as it’s available.

Gina Biel, a media director, comes to BR after managing multiple media teams in the Minneapolis market. The ever-changing media landscape continues to excite her and keeps her passionate in bringing strategic, results-driven media recommendations to clients. Addicted to change, Gina spends her free time remodeling the “handyman special” home she shares with her husband and Airedale Terrier, Ina. Want to talk more with Gina about this study? Email her at

Industry: Agriculture

Topic: Communication


Updates in your inbox