The plethora of sources available in today’s marketing communications space can be a double-edged sword. Sure, there are plenty of options out there that can fit every marketing communications budget. But as we’ve seen, some channels can be more effective than others. And effective marketing communications is the goal.
The agricultural marketing space is complex. Crops vary, soil conditions vary, weather patterns vary. Variability is one of the only constants. And probably more so than any other marketing audience, agricultural producers are making decisions that directly impact their bottom line on a regular basis: the type of seed they buy, the feed supply, the fertilizers, chemicals, not to mention the wide variety of equipment on every farm.
One of our focus points in this year’s Future of Communications (FOC) Audience Insights Study was to investigate specific subsets not only where farmers looked for information but also who influenced their decisions.
When respondents had to choose their top influencer in their decision-making process, agronomists were the top choice at 31 percent, retailers and dealers came in at 28 percent and other farmers were chosen by 22 percent of the respondents.
When learning about a new product or farming technique, 79 percent of the respondents said university or Extension advisers were extremely to moderately influential, while 56 percent of the respondents said a retailer or dealer was extremely to moderately influential. Other farmers were mentioned as extremely to moderately influential 52 percent of the time.
These advisers have broad influence, but the highest-ranked areas were learning about a new product or farming technique (61 percent extremely to moderately influential), adding a product for consideration (54 percent extremely to moderately influential) and helping to make the final product choice (48 percent extremely to moderately influential).
Another interesting takeaway from our study was that these adviser groups provided greater influence depending on the decisions being made. Trusted advice shifted among types of activity:
- Retailers/dealers are the most influential when adding a product to the consideration set.
- University/Extension advisers are most influential when learning about new products or services.
- Other farmers are the most influential when learning about new products/services and when adding a product to the consideration set.
As with most of the information we’ve presented, the age of the producer has an influence on the adviser most trusted. Agronomists tended to be more trusted by the subsets of those who were 48 years old or older, while younger producers tended to rely more on retailers and dealers as well as other farmers.
Perhaps a more interesting tidbit we pulled from the data is that 11 percent of the respondents said that top advisers are not influential at all when changing their mind when they’ve already made a product choice.
Producers seek advice from many influencers, and the degree that they are influenced by that advice depends on where they are in the buying process. That means that if we want to effectively communicate with producers, we need to ensure that marketing communications messages are conveyed to these key advisers at the appropriate time when growers are making their decisions.
Messages should align with the kind of expertise the growers are searching for.
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.
Manisha Nabke, a senior architect in our Target Activation Group has experience on national and regional programs for B2B and consumer brands. In addition, she has experience leading branding and new product/retail launch efforts for national and local market audiences. Prior to joining BR in 2013, Manisha worked at Cramer-Krasselt in Milwaukee and Starcom Worldwide in Chicago. Want to ask Manisha more about influencers in marketing? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.