The importance of audience in integrated marketing

by Jeff Walter
September 7, 2018

The importance of audience in integrated marketing

Audience and engagement are the primary factors in developing diversified campaigns.

We’ve all made assumptions. We think we know something, only to realize whatever we thought we knew couldn’t have been further from the truth. If only we had asked… Isn’t that the point?

Some of the most successful marketing campaigns are those that don’t make assumptions. Instead, they create an element of interactivity. They ask questions of their audience and let the audience develop their own space.

Integrated marketing creates a seamless customer experience of public relations, social media, direct sales, advertising and all of the other partners of the customer journey. Through this journey, these players work together to unify their communications, so that each audience receives a message catered to their needs and in an effort to make them a customer. Externally, the ag audience might seem one-dimensional, as if all farmers use the same products. Internally, as with all industries, farmers use different products dictated by their varying geography and field needs, the same way vets use a multitude of products dictated by the animals they service. Audiences are multidimensional.

Shopkick Insights notes that the most critical part of the integrated marketing process starts with defining and segmenting the audience. This enables the brand to develop an overarching inclusive message, while also confirming that each audience identifies with the message based on their individual needs. Though outliers will inevitably surface, the brand adapts and crafts messages around different audience segments. The ability to adapt is how a brand builds trust between themselves and the consumer.

Segment the audience: personas

Once we segment the audience, we give those segments personas. This defines the farmers, ranchers, veterinarians, technicians, retailers and ag dealers that become the ideal customers and the audience for integrated marketing. And it’s getting beyond the surface level. We can’t just stop at titles, because to develop target audience patterns, we need to know their demographics. We also need to learn their motivations for seeking out various products and services; the challenges they face on the fields; the fears they have in the current climate, environmental and otherwise; and their goals for their farms, their families, operations and businesses.

An organic farmer and the owner of a large ag retailer are potential personas to purchase the same biological seed treatment, but how we market to them and on what channels are two different strategies.

Engagement as a marketing mechanism

There’s one more piece to this pie: engagement. Integrated marketing relies on engagement to determine which content earns the most substantial response and how that content is further developed. This is more than simply likes and shares; as B2B Marketing recommends, it’s a deep exploration into which channels are in use and investigating unique visitors. It also considers page views, impressions, bounce rates, who the audience is reaching and what type of content the audience is responding to.  And then we look at what needs improvement. Because we can cross-pollinate traditional, digital and social media, engagement translates into audience interaction.

This information is invaluable, because it guides the development of the other players in the customer journey. From here, we learn which ads, media buys, social media posts and PR tactics are successful and which ones need to be revisited. But not just that – we also learn who is responding to them and why or why not. It goes back to targeting the audience.

The underlying goal of integrated marketing is to create a diversified campaign that aligns with a variety of ag audiences on multiple channels. It provides a multidimensional opportunity for brands to elevate their status and their offerings, so that there is greater appeal for purchases and the potential to develop returning customers.

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.

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