Part 4 of 7 in our Ag Challenger series.
As marketers, we need to remind ourselves that we’re in the business of solving our customers’ problems, not our own. That starts by pinpointing who our customers are on each farm. And it includes a need to be more broad-minded than we have been in the past.
You’ve heard the old saying, “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail?” Agrimarketers have fallen into this trap, looking at their products and trying to work backwards to see what problems these products might solve for farmers. We need to be more ambitious and find out what problems farmers are working to solve. You might be surprised to learn that it’s not always just a matter of higher productivity, ROI or profitability.
Yes, producing goods and making economic gains are part of the equation, but we need to remember that farmers, by being farmers, are expressing a lifestyle preference too. And within that lifestyle, it isn’t just commodities that are being produced. Ask a farmer—and we’ve asked plenty—and they’ll tell you that they produce more than crops and livestock.
Ask a farmer—and we’ve asked plenty—and they’ll tell you that they produce more than crops and livestock.
Here are some things we’ve heard farmers say about the less tangible things they produce:
- People “To have a farm was one way of keeping them [the kids] grounded.”
- Community “Everyone has said that what they’re doing is not an isolated production for monetary gain…we’ve got a community-minded consciousness that we’re part of something bigger than just ourselves.”
- Identity “I have an identity as a farmer. I harvest my beef animals every year and sell those to people in my small community…and so a lot of people know me as that, the beef guy.”
- Spirituality “I enjoy the mornings, you know, seeing the morning dew on the veggies…watching everything grow.”
- Landscapes “Every day, hundreds or thousands of people drive by our farm on the Interstate. To them, we are a glimpse of something different, where their food comes from.”
- Recreation “We recently purchased horses…we got them so they [the kids] could start learning the aspects about life…learning to ride and saddle horses teaches you something about life.”
As marketers, we need to be mindful that farmers have bigger issues on their mind. And if we want to be more relevant to farmers, we need to be part of the discussion around those big issues.