Taking a personal approach to reach millennials will pay off in the long run.
Recently we’ve had some discussion in our office about how and whether the brand loyalty of Millennial farmers is different from older generations on the farm. When it comes to choosing crop inputs and equipment, they don’t automatically buy what their parents and grandparents bought. Instead, they often begin the decision-making process by first researching the problem they are solving for, and then looking carefully at reviews, ratings and discussion about how products have performed for others. Only once they’re certain about how a choice will work for their specific needs do they buy.
Does this mean they are less brand loyal than the generations who came before them?
Not necessarily. While it’s true that their product selection process is different, there’s reason to believe that Millennials are in fact more fiercely brand loyal than previous generations. Because they want to forge a deep connection with the brands they choose, they prefer to stay with a brand that gives them what they’re seeking.
That may sound easy enough. But what exactly are they seeking? To find out, we did some reading up on the subject and talked to the Millennials in ag we know. Following are our observations and recommendations for brands who want to win the brand loyalty of Millennial farmers:
- They’re looking to engage. Millennial farmers want to know more than a product’s features and benefits – they want real solutions to their business problems. Instead of being talked to, they want brands to talk with them by demonstrating that they understand the challenges Millennial farmers are facing, and that they have strategies to help.
- They want a two-way conversation. Because Millennials have interest in helping improve products, they appreciate companies that actively listen for feedback and adjust their product offering accordingly. Companies and brands which show that they’re listening and interested in continuous improvement will have a better chance of getting consistent Millennial input, including product feedback via user ratings and reviews.
- They crave personalization. One of the biggest pitfalls in marketing today is the tendency for marketers to flood channels with generic information without following up with a message that is personal to the intended audience. Millennials want brands that recognize them as individuals with unique needs, not a number. Marketers who tailor messages to address specific challenges they face on their farm and their fields are likely to get further with this audience.
- They want brands that give back. Millennials – who came of age during the financial crisis – are wary of corporations that appear to be out for themselves only. They want to know companies are doing what they can to make a positive difference in the world and especially in their communities.
Brands that keep these ideas in mind will no doubt connect more readily and deeply with the Millennial farmer audience. Though it may require rethinking strategies and working hard work to activate against a new approach, the payoff – brand loyalty from a discerning audience – will be well worth it.
Independent Consultant. Before starting her freelance career, Diane worked at Rhea + Kaiser for more than 25 years. During her tenure she put her strong critical thinking and creative problem solving skills to work across a variety of clients.