In human history, access to information has never been more readily available than today. Powerful internet search engines have become a mainstay for many. And their prowess is staggering. According to a recent online article, there are more than 2 trillion web searches conducted on Google per DAY. Other statistics indicate that there are more than 40,000 online searches conducted per second. Those are some staggering numbers.
When it comes to agricultural producers, it means that they have, at their fingertips, access to more and more information. But to reach this audience with information on a new product or technology, it is important to know where producers turn when making these key marketing decisions. Such insights guide marketing decisions that make the most use of marketing resources.
Our biennial Future of Communications (FOC) Audience Insights Study provided us with a wealth of information that will help us as we shape our marketing communications programs. Because we conduct this study every two years, it also allows us to gauge industry trends in a rapidly changing marketing environment.
There is a generational gap when it comes to sources producers turn to when gathering additional information after hearing about a new product or technology. Older producers rely more heavily on dealers and/or retailers, while younger farmers increasingly rely on various digital sources.
Overall, when asked where producers look for information on new products or technology, retailers/dealers ranked highest at 52 percent, followed by agricultural magazines at 43 percent and other farmers at 39 percent. Delving even further, we can see from the results that 34 percent of respondents get this information from company or product websites accessed from a desktop computer while 12 percent access company or product websites via their mobile device, compared with 10 percent who indicated they get new product or technology information from a conference or seminar.
Another key insight is the role that company websites play in the marketing mix. It’s essential that these sites are kept current and that they are optimized for use on a variety of devices, from the desktop to the smartphone. As more and more producers turn to smartphones, it’s a safe bet that the company website will be viewed in the cab of a tractor rather than at a desk in the office. So while so many turn to social media platforms to sustain conversation, it cannot be at the expense of also maintaining information-rich websites.
The bottom line is that, when introducing a new product or technology, agricultural marketers need to incorporate a healthy mix of traditional and digital media to reach the broadest spectrum of producers across all age demographics. And an effective way to do so is to leverage marketing dollars to reach the various outlets.
Erin Bauer, a former senior architect in BR’s TAG group, also contributed to this post.