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Agrimarketing : October 2009
INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW by Jennifer Saylor, Member Services Manager, National Association of Farm Broadcasting The National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) is initiating its third major national research study in four years, with the Internet Ag Information Usage Study commissioned with Ag Media Research, Sioux Falls, SD. Building on the National Producer Media-Use Wave Study of 2008, the new project is taking the research to the next level, asking large farmers and ranchers about their internet access practices and preferences for agribusiness infor- mation, including use of the mobile web. Its goal is to objectively see where the farm community is with their use of the internet and why they use it. The survey queried 1,200 national producers grossing $100,000 annually in farm income, asking about the relative value of different types of agribusiness information as delivered via the web. THE NEED Lynn Ketelsen, President of Linder Farm Network and Chair of the NAFB Research Committee, notes, “Farmers are information gathers. Radio has always been in a strong position of reaching farmers because we are instant, mobile and can give both brief reports and in depth analysis.” He also knows that farmers use other sources of media for their information. Our goal is to “discover what farmers need, and how we as farm broadcasters can make our web presence even stronger,” says Ketelsen. Ag Media Research President Ron Claussen says it will be the first study of its kind for open public con- sumption. As the survey was being developed, questions were kept broad from a technological stand- point so not to narrow the focus of the responses. The calls surveying producers wrapped up at the end of September. Media veteran Ted Haller consulted on the project, including seeking input toward the question- naire from leading industry mar- keters and agencies. “We want agen- cies and clients to go to this data and know that it is objective, current and useful,” Haller says. Once the surveys are all collected, input will again be sought to help create an active working database to help get to the bottom of what producers are really using. This includes determining if producers are accessing social media and mobile web. WHERE THEY’RE GOING Haller adds that this is not a site- specific survey, whose objective is to see where producers are going on the Internet. Rather it is a survey to clarify in the broader sense, if producers are going to the internet, why are they using the internet, and how are they doing so. He points out that the large random sample of target audience producers will be tracked for non- usage as well, giving the survey results a more universal outcome. Use of the mobile web and text messaging among larger producers and within agribusiness has become more common, observed NAFB Executive Director Bill O’Neill. But producer age and broadband access in parts of rural America certainly remain factors. Because of its prevalence in the broader digital communications world, there also is curiosity about farmer and rancher use of social media networking. As with other industries and business sectors, a question becomes to what ends or purposes Facebook or Twitter might be serving the agricultural information interests of a crop or livestock producer. “Our member stations and net- works, as well as industry marketers and agencies, will gain valuable insights from this new national research,” O’Neill said. “We want to bring value in the way of data and knowledge that supports strategic decision-making.” Angie Skochdopole, Senior Director of Media Services at AdFarm, serves on the NAFB Marketing and Promotion Advisory Board and was involved in the development of the survey. “This unbiased study is large enough to be projectable against a national a target audience — therefore, more accurate than other “new media” research projections currently available in the industry,” says Skochdopole. “As a media planner, I will be using the data to determine/validate reach against specific geographic and demographic targets for ‘new media’ such as mobile, podcasts, webinars, social and search media.” She notes that this new study will compliment the 2008 Wave Study by delving deeply into producer web site activity and painting a picture of how traditional media and new media can work together for effective reach against our target audiences. FINDINGS The findings of this research will not only benefit agencies, marketers and clients, but also the member stations and networks of NAFB, who funded the project. The information offered will help stations and networks develop successful online media strategies — tuning in to what is relevant for today’s large producer, whose average age is 57. “We see the farm broadcaster ’s duties today becoming more and more of multimedia providers,” Ketelsen adds. “From radio reports, to newsletters, to internet broadcasts and strong internet sites, NAFB is truly becoming an organization of farm communicators. Our goal is to serve farmers with information, and the series of research studies over the past two years is a major investment in that effort.” With most industry research closely held or proprietary, NAFB again will make public the outcomes of this new survey. Results are to be introduced during the November Annual Convention, Nov. 11 -13 in Kansas City, MO. AM AG/RURAL BROADCASTING UPDATE 34 Agri Marketing I October 2009 Skochdopole 34 NAFB Internet Usage Study:33 NAFB Success Story 10/1/09 4:34 PM Page 34
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