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Agrimarketing : May 2012
Ag producers and Rural Lifestylers may not have brand oyalties in common but relationships with dealers are a shared value. "Producers and Rural Lifestylers have told us they will go a further distance to have a good relationship with a dealer versus do business with a dealer that may be closer, but doesn't help them," DeGeest says. Because Paulsen Marketing specializes in both the traditional agriculture and Rural Lifestyle markets, the team is keenly in tune with the similarities and differences of the distinct audiences. "We are in a position as an agency to bridge the gap between agriculture and Rural Lifestylers, so we're constantly working to make sure each side see the others' point of view," Smither says. Paulsen has learned that Rural Lifestylers come from varied backgrounds, from having no agricultural experience, to being original farm kids who either want to reside rurally and work in the city or have an acreage while working on the family farm. There's also a highly sophisticated and savvy career segment who have achieved a part time or weekend Rural Lifestyle through financial success. "These scenarios speak to why we can't blanket all rural lifestylers the exact same way," Smither says. "So not only is it important to segment by demographics, but your messaging might change based on the products you're selling, knowledge of rural living, and who you're trying to reach." While Paulsen has dedicated years of discovery to learning more about Rural Lifestylers through one-on-one interviews and have shared their insights in thought papers, they've learned that for every answer there's another question about the trends that influence buying behaviors of Rural Lifestylers. "Technology, the economy, the market all continue to change and we have to stay on top of the research on behalf of our clients," Guse says. "So why do we keep placing so much emphasis on research for our clients?" Smither asked during the roundtable. "Because the Rural Lifestyle market is a moving target," Steever says. "And because Rural Lifestylers have tremendous purchasing power which is an opportunity for our ag clients to fill their needs," Guse added. As the saying goes, "necessity is the mother of invention," and Paulsen Marketing believes Rural Lifestylers' needs will direct new products in the future. "We can't predict what products and services will result, but as more agri-marketers understand the Rural Lifestyle market --- the size, the scope, the potential --- we're going to see innovation in products and services that don't exist today that will serve that growing market," Smither says. Guse agrees. "We're already seeing traditional production agri- culture products be redeveloped for cross-over applications in Rural Lifestyle markets," he says. PAULSEN'S KIND OF PEOPLE Sitting across kitchen tables with Rural Lifestylers, walking through their acreages and inviting conversations with them has made a lasting impression on Paulsen Marketing professionals and keeps the team looking for opportunities to engage again in knowing more and communicating about ag and rural living. "The thing that I've noticed with almost every one that I've talked to is the pride they have in what they are doing. They will often say, 'Just look what I've been able to do with this place!' "Guse states. "It's a pride of accomplishment. It just gives you a different view of the world. "What I enjoy most about visiting with Rural Lifestylers is it's the best way to understand why they love the land," Smither says. "To hear a story about someone who's worked their entire life to achieve a Rural Lifestyle because it has been their lifetime goal ... what you're talking about is people realizing their dreams and that's very powerful. If you can understand what motivates people, you can really connect with your brand that way." AM 52 Agri Marketing May 2012 A PAULSEN SPECIALTY/ continued from page 51