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The Market Nobody Knows....

Shutterstock_2084000_farm_house_1 Perhaps, if I had any sense, I'd just give up right now...but I'm convinced that there is a vast market many people are overlooking.  I've written about this before but here is a new twist...

I think it's the first of a "Twelve Step Program" so I'll make my admission right here:  I am captivated by the Rural Lifestyle and the people who live it.  I'm not speaking of traditional row crop production (farmers) although they do live a "rural lifestyle".  The folks I'm writing about are those individuals who live in the country on maybe 3 - 100 acres of land but have full time jobs in town or who work at "urban style" jobs from their acreage.

The funny thing about this demographic is that few companies or services are attempting to market to them and fewer still "get it".  Here's my story from this weekend:

There were two public trade shows this weekend in Des Moines.  One was the Iowa Deer Classic where a couple of hundred companies had displays urging hunters to buy everything from new camouflage pants to magazines and bows to tree stands.  The other was the "Manufactured Home Show and Country Living Expo".  Here maybe 45 companies were hawking everything from manufactured homes to chiropractic care. 

Thousands of folks walked the isles of the hunting show while, in comparision, a few hundred went to the "country living show".  Now, consider the demographics:  There are about 450,000 hunters in Iowa while there are 1.1 million rural non-farm folks in the state.  If you break that down to a "region" in the Des Moines area there are about 114,000 hunters (of all types) and over 150,000 rural lifestyle folk on 3 - 100 acres of land.

Oh...the disconnect.  (I love that word.  Admission number two.)  Now, some might say that the hunting show was more "focused" than a "country living show".  That may be true but the market segments don't change.  How come there was only ONE compact tractor company at the country living show?  How come there was only one "zero turn" mower company at the country living show?  No attachments, no livestock folks, no small seeds, no green houses, no bird watchers, no feed companies, no dog "anything"...and the list goes on and on.

I had the opportunity to, on Sunday, work a booth for a client who sells compact tractors.  I was busy.  In the span of 90 minutes I qualified at least twelve buyers while the owner qualified maybe another fifteen.  Brisk business...but then we were the only game in town.  We liked that.

I'm convinced that the disconnect lies in the fact the company putting on the country living show simply does not understand the market and the folks who should have been there understand it even less.  We've worked in this market for years and it constantly amazes me that people won't spend the time to try to "get it"...or find new and exciting ways to reach these people.  I'd give it up...but then again there is great power in knowing the market.

What say you?

Michael P. Libbie, Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications - as always, you can contact us with a click here.