When marketing to farmers, respect the relationship with ag media

by Jeff Walter
September 13, 2016

Ag Media for Marketing to Farmers

Understanding is the foundation for respect.

In our post Print Still Rules the Marketing Mix for Reaching Farmers, we established that farmers still receive and read agricultural print publications. Farmers don’t stop there though – they tune into agricultural websites, ag radio and TV. The point is, they trust ag media and they look to it as a resource. What does that mean for you as a marketer? Don’t mess with their media relationships!

The key to respecting any relationship is understanding. Here are a few insights to help strengthen your understanding of ag media-to-farmer relationships.

Trust

It’s about trust and credibility. Farmers need to have continued positive experiences with ag media outlets. They expect them to remain neutral and accurate.

These media outlets need to maintain credibility – they don’t want to appear under the thumb of any brand. Keep this in mind when providing material and sources. Ask yourself “Is this a piece they will feel comfortable running?”

Additionally, if you are sharing a farmer’s product testimonial, ensure you capture their information accurately. Is the city you listed spelled correctly? Don’t modify their quotes without permission. Most importantly, set everyone up for a positive experience.

Influence

Just what business decisions does ag media influence? A recent Meredith AgriMedia survey lists the following:

  • Establishing farming needs and information gathering
  • Evaluation and comparison of products
  • Final price comparison and crop purchase decisions
  • Use and review purchased product

Communication

A good relationship is dependent on good communication. We see that farmers are willing to speak with ag media – this is unique to ag media. Farmers are very reluctant to speak to and slow to trust mass media. Ag media is consistent, it’s trustworthy, is mostly neutral and is respectful to its audience.

Common Goals

This willingness to trust and speak with ag media is rooted in common goals. Ag media exists to educate and entertain farmers; they share the common goal of supporting agriculture.

As the familiar words of Theodore Roosevelt teach us, “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Ag media show how much they care by covering all topics around farming: commodity prices, local interest stories, anecdotes from farm life, the weather, safety – all this in addition to challenges and brand solutions.

If you remember nothing else, remember this: Ag media is here for the farmers, brands are secondary. Remember this. Respect this.

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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