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The New Ag Media Model: Conventional + Contemporary Strategies


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Spring 2010 Media Usage Study
By: Kristi Moss

Published in: Business
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The New Ag Media Model: Conventional + Contemporary Strategies

  1. 1. The New Ag Media Model:Conventional + Contemporary Strategies K r i s t i M o s s
  2. 2. www.paulsenmarketing.comParticipating in the conversation—it was thehottest media buzz-phrase in 2009 and continues Conventional Media Modelto be a hot topic in 2010. So what does it mean? Itmeans that the direction of ag media is changingdramatically, and more clients than ever are askingfor guidance.Clients and marketers alike are accustomed to ing Ma s eb Site rtis gaone-way marketing and being in total control of Direct Mail zin e Adv esthe message. We’ve successfully built brands, (1.0) W &N ner ew Radawareness and familiarity through the traditional TV Ban sp ail io ap s E-m Ououtlets of print and broadcast media. A typical log ers tdo ta or Ca wstwo-way marketing conversation involved trade Dea Sho de lers Trashows, key influencers and dealer support. The Key In Mouth of fluen Wordconversation occurred during the consideration cesand purchase phases of the buying process, andthe marketer was able to maintain some controlof the message.That was then. Now, two things areoccurring simultaneously: 1. A younger generation of decision-makers wants to receive information differently than Contemporary Media Model the older generation. 2. Customers are more involved in our marketing strategy; they are joining the conversation at the awareness and familiarity Mag levels. Social media makes controlling the azin g isin es & message a challenge at every level. We rt Mail dve New ng need to work harder to stay on message eti A Direct Radio spa ark ner TV through the entire buying cycle of eM Po Ban pers E- ne ds dc bil ws ee awareness, familiarity, consideration, as Soc Mo let F ts ial ter SS s Me R purchase and use. dia s how Gro d eS ups Tra of Mouth Blogs Word Dealers Twitter Two-way Communication Ag Con ference Webinars s You Tub One-way Communication S ites e Web (2.0) 1
  3. 3. Successful Farming and NAFB both completed fantastic research in 2009, which essentially tells us that we are marketing to two different audiences:“My father will turn a magazine overand leave it on the counter for me to A conventional audience: the older farmer, 50–69 years old, who still prefers to receive information primarily in print and broadcast. Forread. If I see something of interest, the most part, this person is still the decision-maker, and we need toI will email it to him.” continue to reach him through the tried and tested methods we are accustomed to using.- Barbara Downey, • Media is less interactive Cattle Rancher • Moving toward a two-way “conversation” with brands • Consumer is not in control • Media defines the message A contemporary audience: the younger farmer, 30–49 years old, who is very comfortable with digital media. This person grew up in the era of instant gratification and wants to participate in a social media conversation. Radical changes occur with this audience, which is quickly gaining the purchasing power of the older demographic. Connect with us online: • Media is more interactive • Based on two-way “conversation” with brands • Consumer is in control • About • Media must participate in the message • Chemistry • People Different audiences require different media strategies • Work Armed with this knowledge, Paulsen hit the road to talk to producers • Services about this paradigm shift. These non-quantitative interviews brought to light some interesting perspectives, with responses closely matching • Blog the NAFB research. • Paulsen Post Print and radio maintain their places as primary information sources • Contact for producers. But there can be no doubt that digital media is growing exponentially, with e-newsletters the most widely accepted medium. Essentially this means that while a magazine and an e-newsletter are read differently, both have their place in the marketing mix. 2
  4. 4. www.paulsenmarketing.comMulti-generational farms andsuccession planningMany of our interviews involved multi-generational farmingoperations. We were interested in learning more about how “The information you get on thepurchasing decisions are made. Internet is the same, but it doesn’tIn nearly all cases, both generations had decision-making soak in as well.”power over certain segments of the operation. Thisreinforces the importance of marketing to both age groups. - Ken McCauley,Not surprisingly, depending on age and role, those decision- Corn and Soybean Producermakers want to receive information in different ways. Digital media is supplementing traditionalInterview Group 1 (1:52) media, not replacing itForty-five-year-old Barbara Downey’s family owns a 550 While digital media is gaining strength, there is stillhead cow-calf operation in the Flint Hills of Kansas. Her something to be said for the power of print and broadcast.father makes the large capital purchase decisions, but she Producers like the look and feel of magazines and print,and her husband have some say. and the mobility of radio.Barbara Downey - Interview (0:13) Interview Group 2 (0:44) 3
  5. 5. www.paulsenmarketing.comKen McCauley, a 59-year-old from northeast Kansas,realizes that the same information is being provided indifferent ways. “I still get more out of it, if it’s on paper.The information you get on the Internet is the same, but itdoesn’t soak in as well.” Mary Ann Kniebel, a 48-year-oldcattle rancher from Kansas, agrees, “We’re not going togive up print media, because it’s just easier to read.” Interview Group 3 (0:29) While e-newsletters are a preferred source of information for her, Downey says, “There is something to be said for a magazine. They are always in our shop office. It’s an easier format to read. You have to know what you want when you are on your computer.”MaryAnn Knieble Interview (0:40)Not surprisingly, media usage varies greatly by ageand gender. The women we interviewed are all veryinvolved in farming and ranching operations. They arecomfortable with daily computer usage and perhapsmore apt to receive and accept digital information. Kniebelagrees print and radio are the best ways to reach her,but she’s finding e-newsletters to be a great source ofinformation, too. She reminds us, “If it catches your eye,you can follow the link and find out what you want. ” Barbara Downey - Interview (1:20)The source of information is more important Older producers are making the transitionthan the channel to digitalE-newsletters and blogs have become an accepted form Some older producers have already made the transition,of digital engagement. Most producers may not be able citing ag Web sites as the primary source of informationto name the e-newsletter, blog or publishing company, but and assistance in purchasing decisions. Mark Caspers,they identify particular editors or writers as trusted sources a 46-year-old producer from Auburn, Neb., likes theof information. easy access that ag Web sites provide, and he finds the social network of the blogosphere to be helpful in purchasing decisions. 4
  6. 6. “So many things are happening in agriculture to put us in a defensive position. Our consumers are receiving misinformation; they fall prey to the consumer groups that want to put us out of business. ” - Leon Corzine, Corn and Soybean Producer Using social media to manage ag issues Debbie Lyons-Blythe, a cattle rancher from central Kansas, spends nearly two hours a day online and dedicates the majority of her time there to advocacy. While she says digital messages are the best way to reach her, she knows that agribusinesses need to market differently to her parents, who might click on a pertinent e-newsletter but are far more likely to read a magazine.Mark Caspers Interview (0:51)Bob Worth, a corn and soybean farmer from Lake Benton,Minn., finds he has more time to spend on his computerthan to read magazines. He loves the accessibility hislaptop brings, but is quick to point out that his radio is on“all the time.” Kniebel advises Web designers that a goodsite “needs to flow well and information needs to be easyto find.” Debbie Lyons-Blythe Interview (0:58) Nearly all the producers we interviewed told us that educating the general public and average consumer on ag advocacy issues is extremely important. Regardless of age, producers seem to grasp the power social media holds for issues management, and they agree social media holds a great opportunity for agriculture’s voice. Lyons-Blythe realizes that social media allows her to talk to people to whom she wouldn’t otherwise have access. She adds that connecting with people who don’t understand agriculture is key. Activists use social media,Interview Group 4 (0:56) and agriculture needs to have a strong voice, too. 5
  7. 7. www.paulsenmarketing.comDebbie Lyons-Blythe Interview 2 (1:18) Ken McCauley Interview (2:45) Beyond issues management, most did not see socialOlder producers are making the transition to media becoming a viable marketing tool, at least in thedigital count. short-term. McCauley is not convinced marketers will have the same access as individuals within the social platform.Leon Corzine, a fifth-generation farmer from Assumption, Concerned about social sites cluttered with marketingIll., does not use Twitter, but expects to do so in the future. messages, McCauley thinks there are still better ways toThe 60-year-old tells us, “So many things are happening to talk to consumers. He expects social media to refine itselfput agriculture in a defensive position. Our consumers are over the next few years and isn’t sure of the role marketingreceiving misinformation or a lack of information.” messages will play in that refinement process. A self- proclaimed magazine and radio guy, he still considers print and broadcast to be the best way to talk to producers. Though our primary goal was to discuss media usage, we discovered that the way capital purchases are made differs, too. Merri Post and her husband have owned and operated a dairy farm near Chandler, Minn., for 18 years. They recently saved thousands of dollars on a skid steer purchase—even with travel and expenses added in—by thoroughly researching the buy.Leon Corzine Interview (0:40)McCauley finds Facebook to be a valuable tool forbuilding relationships with landlords. He admits theInternet is changing the way we do business. Realizing it’simportant for producers to take an active role in educatingconsumers, he says the social platform is the best way toreach more people. McCauley farms 4500 acres with hisson, Brad, age 31. Brad has also begun to build businessrelationships through the Internet. Interview Group 5 (1:26) 6
  8. 8. 605.336.1745 As agrimarketers, we can’t be afraid to try new things. Digital media is scalable and can be a cost-efficient media to test. If a client is hesitant to transition to digital “I have my laptop with me and I get a lot messaging, start small to build their comfort level. And be of my information off the Web sites. careful not to sell digital media on analytics alone. While tracking is great, analytics programs can differ greatly, I listen to ag radio all the time. ” causing confusion that could create a trust problem. - Bob Worth, Traditional media should remember that broadcasters, Corn and Soybean Producer editors and writers always have been and always will be your most valuable assets. They are the trusted advisors to whom producers look for relevant information. The people and the information still exist— we just have to put the two together in as many ways as possible. I believe that digital media in agriculture will come full-circle. Tracking and analytics will always be a greatKey observations from the study: feature, but branding and message association will become as important in digital media as it is in 1. We are talking to two different audiences, and our traditional forms. marketing plans need to reflect those differences. In multi-generational farming operations, both Paulsen Marketing is passionate about agrimarketing, the generations have decision-making power. evolution of digital media and how the two will marry. If you wish to discuss your current challenges and the transition 2. The way agrimarketing businesses market to their from conventional to contemporary marketing strategies customers needs to change, because the buying for your company, please call Greg Guse or me at habits and the way purchasing decisions are made 605-336-1745 or contact us here. differs between the two audiences. 3. All forms of media are important and need to be included in the marketing mix. Print and radio maintain the top spots as information sources, but producers of all ages are becoming more comfortable Kristi Moss was born and with digital media. raised on a small farm in southeast South Dakota. 4. Producers are aware of the power of social media Her rural roots led her to a career in agrimarketing. She for issues and advocacy, but are hesitant to embrace has spent the last 15 years marketers trying to insert themselves into the social planning and placing media media circle. Electronic “intrusion” seemed to be a for Paulsen Marketing’s recurring issue. largest agricultural and rural lifestyle clients. 7
  9. 9. We welcome you to continue referencing this study at the ag and rural lifestyle specialists • 605.336.1745 3510 s. First Ave. Circle • sioux Falls, sD 57108 Follow us: