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Agrimarketing : September 2012
Editor's Note: We invited several organizations that are involved with the Rural Lifestyle consumer market to provide an update on their firms and trends they see in the marketplace. FASTLINE by Bill Howard, CEO/Owner www.fastline.com Reaching the Rural Lifestyle market is based on the same principles of reaching any market group. It's about distinguishing your business from your com- petitors. These buyers are searching in print and online for the equip- ment, parts or services they need. Luckily, Fastline provides dealers the outlet to reach them at every touch point. As the Rural Lifestyle market continues to grow, more consumers are searching for smaller equipment and lawn and garden equipment. Fastline realizes that our products and knowledge of the industry provide an important tool to these buyers and the dealers trying to sell that type of equipment. Fastline understands that people living the Rural Lifestyle have other jobs and often don't have time to visit multiple locations to get information or shop around. Our printed buying guides, web site and mobile products help them research equipment when and where it's convenient for them. The key to marketing to the rural audience is to give it a human touch, be real. We ask dealers what makes them different. Their ads and online videos can point out their strengths and allow dealers to tell buyers what makes a dealer unique and what they can provide. It is difficult for the local dealer to compete against the "big box stores" (Home Depots, Wal-Marts and Costcos) for some turf related equipment. It becomes even more important for the local or regional dealership to set itself apart. It is essential that consumers realize the advantages. Using a good marketing mix allows dealers and manufacturers to connect with the rural market buyer when and where the customer needs information. Another way to reach out to customers is through social media. The ag industry is getting more involved with social media and it's becoming part of the way companies and consumers do business today. Social media can be useful because it's affordable, and it is an excellent way to reach younger farmers. LIVING THE COUNTRY LIFE by Josh Riesse, Sales Executive www.livingthecountrylife.com Living the Country Life just ended another record sales year in Fiscal 2012, proving that marketers are excited about the opportunity to engage with the Rural Lifestyle market. We continue to be optimistic about the growth of the Rural Lifestyle market for three main reasons: Baby boomers are continuing to migrate to rural areas as they enter retirement or near-retirement age. The younger baby boomers are start- ing to reach the empty-nester life stage and have less of a need for immediate access to urban amenities. Technology and connectivity are improving. In one of our most recent reader surveys, our audience indicated that 94% have access to high-speed internet. This is up nearly 10% in just the last two years. Smartphones and tablets are more accessible than ever, and improving wireless networks enable Rural Lifestyle consumers to be connected and to telecommute. Land is still a tangible investment. Aspiring Rural Lifestyle consumers are benefiting from an improving housing market. Increasingly, they can afford to get out of their current homes and take enough equity with them to purchase an acreage. Many view land as a relatively safe investment; plus, some see the opportunity to make income on their property. Brands have an amazing opportunity to influence the Rural Lifestyle consumer. Because many Rural Lifestyle consumers are either new to the Rural Lifestyle or have been separated from it for decades, they need help and guidance with their property. We recommend that brands employ a multiplatform communications approach that helps to educate and inspire the audience --- not just sell the features and benefits of their product. Many Rural Lifestyle consumers aren't loyal to one brand for their Rural Lifestyle purchase --- yet. Engage with the Rural Lifestyle consumer now and create a brand advocate for life. OGDEN PUBLICATIONS by Bryan Welsh, Publisher/ Editorial Director www.ogdenpubs.com We've been tracking steady growth in the public enthusiasm for Rural Lifestyles. GRIT is now our fastest- growing magazine and Mother Earth News was measured, once again, as the magazine most likely to be a reader 's favorite among North America's 200 largest magazines. Mother Earth News was also the magazine readers spend the most time with and one of the magazines most likely to direct a consumer's buying decision. Our RuralLifestyle magazines have, between them, about five million readers, and growing. Of course we enjoy the recognition, but we can't take credit. Americans are falling back in love with our traditional Rural Lifestyles and are keen to learn more about self-reliance --- growing their own food, heating their homes with wood, heating their water with sunshine and generally engaging 48 Agri Marketing September 2012 RURAL LIFESTYLE MARKET UPDATE UPDATES ON THIS IMPORTANT MARKET Howard (more on page 50) Riesse
AgCareers USA 2012