Evaluation: determining value might be more than a numbers game when marketing to farmers

by Jeff Walter
January 8, 2018

metrics quality impact outcome

Quality and quantity are equally important when it comes to metrics.

Yield is a farmer’s output, but as marketers and brand stewards, what is ours? If we are successful, it is the partnership of a farmer with our brand. A more likely outcome is that we have had some impact of recognition, and farmers know who we are and what we can do for them.  If that’s the case, what data do we collect and how do we measure output, outcome and impact, to determine that we are achieving our goals?

In marketing, we’re focused on behavior.  Who we are marketing to and how successful we are is best determined by how well we know our customers, their needs, their challenges and any foresight we might have about trends.

The question is, as we market to farmers, are statistics more powerful than testimonials or is the behavior the star that we are seeking? Does an artfully crafted infographic tell a better story than a story itself?  In marketing, isn’t presentation as important as purpose?

Beyond the standard KPIs, there are some additional points to keep in mind when it comes to aligning your evaluation standards with your needs:

  • Every individual, organization and company has their own definition of success. It can’t be fully quantified or qualified, nor can it be judged.
  • Develop a variety of analytical methods to generate a response. The Harvard University Program on Survey Research recommends that we carefully consider “the underlying concepts a survey is trying to measure,” which in turn will help guide the ideal evaluation instruments to use.  Programs such as com can also suggest a myriad of tools to assess progress.
  • Recognize that numbers alone may not tell the whole story. Metrics, analytics and the variety of programs used to comprehend them, are invaluable. They can predict buying trends of products, reveal chemical diagnostics, guide commodity prices, and determine an indication of weather patterns, but they can’t always tell us why. When it comes to how well we’re marketing, we might need more investigative market research.
  • Humans are visual creatures. According to Forbes, a solid 90% of the information that we absorb through the brain is visual. That means that schematics such as infographics can be notably compelling in presenting data in a unique and powerful manner.
  • Testimonials will be most effective if they are genuine. Use your testimonial subjects – farmers, agronomists, veterinarians – to teach the audience about them, their background in ag, their interest in their field, and which products and services they endorse and why. This makes them more trustworthy and audiences more likely to use said products and services.
  • Remember that success comes down to values. For many businesses, achievement is established through dollar signs. For others, it’s about holding themselves to a particular standard while earning a living. Keep that in mind as you attempt to quantify and qualify success within the context of ag.

Data collection and evaluation, whether maintaining it independently or through a third-party, has the opportunity to make us more informed and to present a stronger, more well-rounded marketing experience to the farmer.

Jeff Walter
About the Author – Jeff Walter

President/Chief Integration Officer. Jeff combines 20 years of client service experience with his deep knowledge and passion for agriculture, which stems from growing up on a corn and soybean farm in northern Illinois. He is a quick study of the brand, the customers and competitors, knows the right questions to ask, and with his oversight on planning and analytics, pushes the team to category-defining strategies and results-driven plans.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Since 1978, the ag-marketing experts at Rhea + Kaiser have been helping brands connect with the farmer customer.

Here at Marketing to Farmers, our panel of contributors regularly share their insights on latest marketing trends in the ag-marketing world, so be sure to check back often – you don’t want to miss a thing.

Related Articles

The Ag Influencer Goes Social

Understanding Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitter and Snapchat influencers and how they add value to ag marketing, ag brands, and legal requirements for compensation as necessary.

read more


Stay current with the latest in ag marketing and get our point of view with the monthly Marketing to Farmers Newsletter. You’ll receive insights and advice on engaging your farmer target.