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Farm Market Research 101: How to Reach Your Target Audience

One of the most challenging parts of any business plan is figuring out how to introduce a great product to the right audience. Great products and services are only valuable when they reach the people who need and want them. Failing to find the right market can turn the latest great product into an epic failure. And lest businesses think a “one-size-fits-all” approach will cover the bases, consider this: “90% of consumers say that messages from companies that are not personally relevant to them are “annoying.” Additionally, research by the Network Advertising Initiative finds “behaviorally-targeted ads more than twice as valuable [and] twice as effective as non-targeted” ads. Taking the time to understand the target audience is a strategy worth its expense for companies wanting to build their brand, engage consumers, and drive sales. Creating this kind of positive business impact for clients requires significant planning and critical thinking.

Ag businesses with diverse product offerings face a more complicated job of finding incredibly niche audiences. The agriculture industry also faces particularly dynamic global competition. In order to significantly increase ROI, ag businesses must get in front of the people most likely to buy from them quickly and successfully. Delay in reaching these audiences, or error in reaching the wrong audience can waste money and create delay in a successful market launch.

Consider these 4 steps to help you reach your most valuable target audience:

Build Your Buyer Persona(s)

A clear understanding of customer’s motivations, needs, and pain-points is necessary to shape a winning product plan. Market research, such as surveys, focus groups, and interviews, can provide data to shape buyer personas and uncover customer needs. Leverage the data collected from survey panels to determine the characteristics (such as demographics and psychographics) that current and potential customers have in common. The top-performing companies incorporate this information into the development and value proposition of their product or service.

Create Engaging Content

Retaining consumer interest is critical. Consumers are pulled in a million directions, to reach them effectively, engage them with useful content. The more personalized the content, the better. With digitalization providing unlimited access to information, consumers stop to read, watch or listen only when it’s personally relevant to them. Creating content in alignment with lessons learned during buyer persona creation is imperative. This market research data informs and shapes winning content that will resonate with buyers. Writing based on what you know appeals to your ideal customer’s interests and concerns gets their attention and can help close the deal.

Harness the Internet

The internet is a powerful tool, but it is also a noisy environment where many companies are competing for the attention of your audience. In the past ag, seed, and large animal veterinary and related equipment vendors did not use the internet as their primary connection to their target audience. But farmers are becoming increasingly reliant on technology as a source of information and this entire vertical is actually now more adept in using the internet to source answers to their very specific questions.

While creating engaging content for the intended audience is the first step, making sure that the audience can see it is equally important. The digital acumen to get your message competitively ranked by search engines and more visible on social media sites creates greater visibility and reach. While marketing experts can help identify how to use these tools, market research can effectively query what this target audience prefers on the internet, which sites and types of information they find most valuable, and which messages resonate more deeply. More sophisticated research can also help determine intent to purchase and what those buying signs might look like online.

Partner Up

It has been said that “it takes a village.” Operating a successful business of any type replies on many partnerships. From relationships with employees to consumers and many others in between, companies can benefit from successful collaboration. Research can help create positive partnerships by helping understand unspoken needs, wants and willingness to actively engage. Whether creating employee advocacy programs or rolling out a new customer or dealership loyalty program, getting the data before finalizing plans can maximize the rewards and mitigate risk.

Once a clear path is understood for impactful partnership ag businesses can team up with influencers and incorporate a system of referrals to expand their reach. These affiliate programs require research, thought and consistent management, but can be worth the effort. Regardless of the partnership, taking the time to test and measure potential ads, messages and visuals that will best resonate with your most ideal buyer is a wise investment.

What’s Next? 

Finding the right research partner for agricultural market research can be challenging. The nuance and complexity of the industry mean few partners have the experience or reach needed to successfully field ag research projects. Asking tough questions of a potential partner is an important part of confirming expertise. A few questions to consider asking include:

  • How frequently does their team manage ag projects?
  • What type of survey respondents are within their immediate reach?
  • How specific are the available targeting capabilities?
  • Can expert survey design be included in any research project?
  • What standards for data collection will be managed?
  • Does their team offer qualitative and quantitative research management?
  • How does their team handle research project details and logistics?


Find an ally in the research space who can identify and reach target audiences to support a return on investment more quickly and effectively.

Want to learn more?

Vertical integration? Tilth? Forage harvester? The technical terminology of the agriculture industry can be challenging to master. As a researcher in this space, it’s essential to know more about the specific business categories and the particular jargon to help you connect with this audience more naturally.

The Ag Researcher’s Almanac is a FREE glossary of important agriculture industry terms for both new and seasoned researchers. Download a copy today!

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