Yesterday I was in a meeting with a large national company talking about agricultural marketing. You know, trying to get a message to farmers, ranchers and rural lifestyle types.
To say the least, they are frustrated.
I was told, "We think we've got a handle on agriculture but we get so many different answers. Who and where are these people?"
This company is not alone...
But like so many others they have drunk the "Koolaid of Agricultural Myths" It is frustrating.
Myth Number One: "If I want to reach row-crop farmers by using television or radio I need to buy a "farm block" early (between 5 and 6) in the morning."
Reality Check: That might have been the case 40 years ago when farming was completely different than it is today. Once upon a time farmers would rise early in the morning to complete their "chores". And, what were those "chores"? Mostly checking and feeding livestock. In the row crop agricultural world of today there is no need to get up early. Fully "diversified farming" is mostly gone. Corn and soybeans don't need much tending. So, unless you've got kids to put on a bus for school, early rising is becoming less a factor. Add to that the average age of the American Farmer is approching 60 years old. Doubt they have many kids in school.
Reality Action: Look most media sales people also buy the fact that "farmers get up early". They know little about farming and most advertising agencies know even less. So, what sould you do? Target your market. This is not to say that TV and Radio don't have a place. You just need balance. Electronic Media is great for some things...like selling trucks, appliances and a host of consumer driven items. (Farmers are consumers too you know!) It's just that selling seed corn using TV? ....right.
Myth Number Two: In a farm state (go ahead pick one) like Iowa you can't swing a dead cat and not hit a farmer.
Reality Check: Here in Iowa there are roughly 60,000 full time farms (USDA Census). Of those fewer than 28,000 have gross sales of over $100,000 per year! (The White House Christmas Card List is bigger than that.) But, I'm giving it away...
Reality Action: Doing a shotgun approach for high end row crop farmers is very costly. Why not engage them with a direct mail piece or even a Business Blog directed to them? Remember not all "farmers" are...farmers.
There are plenty more "Agricultural Myths" out there and because we've been on both the selling and buying end...we've heard a bunch of 'em. As always...know the target and know your limits.
What say you?
Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where we know this stuff...really.