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Agrimarketing : March 2008
March 2008 AgriMarketing 27 and fencing, is crucial. You have one shot to get it right. Messages to this audience must be informative, offer avenues for fur- ther research and must be shared in media outlets they read, listen to or view, including online. Educational messages play a huge role in explaining why they need a particular product or service. This audience also requires more from sales professionals and they need to have both marketing and people skills. They have different expectations than farmers. If a company is mar- keting to both audiences, they will need a sales staff that can relate to full- time professional farmers as well as the person coming in to pick up a few fence posts or bags of feed. This group is looking for expertise and also availability --- they may need to make their pur- chase or schedule their service on weekends or evening hours. At McCormick, we know how they make their buying decisions and what is important to them, such as convenience, information, aesthetic appeal and safety concerns, as well as, their changing needs over time. We actively gain insight, both formal and informal, to keep in tune with the rural lifestyle audience. Some learning's from research we participated in, along with informa- tion directly from these audiences, suggest that the rural residential landowner is more concerned with lifestyle than profitability from their land. However, they also are very savvy at investigating prices before making a purchase and typically review several options before they buy. They value privacy, indepen- dence and the open space that is not available in more urban neighbor- hoods. They live on rural property because they chose it, want it and can afford the lifestyle. The rural lifestyle audience is a hard-working group, averaging more than 50 hours a week between farm and off-farm work. They often hold executive or high-paying pro- fessional positions. Technology allows for instant communication, and working from a distance has been made much easier in recent years. Average earnings for this group increased at a faster rate in recent years compared with those working in metropolitan areas. Women play a key role as a deci- sion-maker for purchases, both for products and services. The opportu- nity exists for marketers to tailor products, packaging and communi- cating to women. The market trends and dynamics indicate there will continue to be opportunities for companies market- ing to this audience. People in this demographic tend to have higher- than-average household incomes and give a higher importance to brands and product features. They embrace technological advances and with smaller acreage, tend to be less cost- conscious, however, it does remain a factor in their buying decisions. As agri-marketing companies look ahead for additional growth opportunities, the rural lifestyle audience will remain a very impor- tant segment for marketing future products and services. The right communications, both from a timing and message aspect, will be the tip- ping point for making the sale. PAULSEN AGRIBRANDING Sioux Falls, SD www.paulsenagribranding.com by Greg Guse, VP, Dir of Client Svcs Whatever you want to call them --- Hobby Farmers, Sundowners, Gen- tlemen Farmers or Rural Lifestylers --- Paulsen AgriBranding has discov- ered an exciting growth opportunity in this market segment. Because of the sheer size and breadth of the Rural Lifestyle mar- ket, it defies a specific audience defi- nition. It's not as tidy as targeting 500-plus acre corn growers or 100- plus beef cow operators, as we do in traditional agri-marketing. The National Association of Farm Broadcasting's (NAFB) Rural Lifestyle Research Study indicates approximately 27 million house- holds "not in a place" (city, town or village). The study projects 16 mil- lion households "not in a place" with three or more acres. For our targeting purposes, we consider rural households on three to forty acres as a very general definition. These households may, or may not, raise crops or livestock, but usually do not rely on these enterprises for their entire household income. Most are employed in nearby towns or cities. Other characteristics of rural lifestylers include: • A slightly older demographic: 88% are 35 years of age or older • Significant household income ($50K or more annually) and con- siderable net worth • Strong interest in gardening, land- scaping and building (DIY) • Companion animals --- horses, dogs, cats --- are very popular • Many were raised on farms and are returning from city life • Peace and security of country living appeals to many • Most are commuters, spending an average of 20 minutes each way to and from work, and • Rural residence is often part of a retirement plan. Even with all this diversity, there is a common denominator for the entire rural lifestyle market: the land. The desire to own, improve and enjoy a piece of heaven in the coun- try is what this market is all about. Along with this love and appreci- ation for the land comes a lengthy list of products, services, and equip- ment to make the very most of the country living experience. The purchasing decisions of rural lifestylers do not vary greatly from (more on page 28) Mayfield Kristi Moss, Paulsen Agribranding Media Dir and VP Greg Guse
Crop Life America