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Agrimarketing : October 2009
October 2009 I Agri Marketing 23 It’s hard to go anywhere these days without hearing someone extol the virtues of “new media” and “social media.” And while advances in tech- nology have made us all “a-Twitter” with the possibilities, producers are once again proving why they can’t be put into a single media mold. That’s the key finding in a market research study conducted recently by Successful Farming (SF) magazine. The survey’s questionnaire was mailed to 912 of the magazine’s Mar- ket Research Panel and achieved a 74% response rate. The study focused heavily on understanding producers’ perceptions and the use of different kinds of media including adoption of new media technologies such as mobile, webinars and downloads from the web. “There’s no doubt that there are a lot of producers out there who are excited about social networking and online media,” says Curt Blades, Successful Farming Sales and Marketing Manager. “But several things stood out from the 2009 Farmers Use of Media research. Younger farmers are heavy con- sumers of information and rely on traditional media vehicles for infor- mation. Both larger and younger producers are increasingly turning online for information, but still value print as their clear number one source for information.” SF Ag Media has a long history of tracking reader opinions, dating back to 1979 with the creation of the Successful Farming Market Research Panel. A total of 1,000 producers com- prise the panel — participating in eight to ten surveys a year. In the most recent research, SF focused heavily on understanding producers’ perceptions and use of different kinds of media including adoption of new media technologies such as mobile, webinars and downloads from the web. TAKE AWAYS Blades explained the takeaway from the research is two-fold. “Print media is the number one source producers turn to in their decision- making process. “But at the same time, producers aren’t relying solely on any one form of media, whether print, broadcast, direct, or online. And that’s where marketers can really get savvy based on what they are trying to accomplish within any given audience segment.” The SF research tracks producers across four stages of ag product purchasing: • Deciding on needs and gathering initial product information. • Evaluation and comparison of different products. • Final price comparison and product purchase decision. • Ongoing use and evaluation of product purchased. While magazines ranked high in each of these four stages, print was on top when it came to deciding on needs and evaluating different prod- ucts. Online media fared well with producers when it came to branding and evaluating products and making final purchasing decisions. Younger producers indicated ag magazines are most effective when it comes to driving them to web sites to learn more about specific products and services. Not surprisingly, agricultural web sites are growing in importance as a resource, but again when used in combination with other forms of information. EFFECTIVENESS Producers also ranked the effective- ness of specific media in moving them to action. That action could be discussing the ads they saw with others, contacting dealers, saving and sharing ads for future reference, visiting web sites, requesting infor- mation, purchasing products. Print publications ranked high in each of these categories, but again shared honors with other forms of media, specifically web sites and farm shows. “Successful agri-marketers have long since been using a strategic mix of media based on what they are trying to accomplish, whether it’s building brand awareness, promot- ing product attributes or creating a new market segment,” says Blades. “Now more than ever agri-marketers need to continue that approach to media, not getting too caught up in any one trend, but focusing on the right mix for what they want to accomplish.” To learn more about the key find- ings in Successful Farming’s Farmers’ Use of Media study, contact Curt Blades at 800/678-2895. AM AGRI-MARKETERS UPDATE MEDIA MIX MATTERS MORE THAN EVER by the Agri Marketing Editors The sources of information growers turn to for information about products for their farm varies by the stage they are in during the purchase process. 23 Successful Farming:00 Market Directions Article 10/1/09 4:20 PM Page 23
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