Do you think about your target audience?
In agriculture we are often guilty of thinking in terms of industry types and then lumping farmers into one group. We then provide information to “suit all” instead of thinking about how people vary and how to most effectively target communication or extension information.
“They are farmers so don’t they all have the same problem and same needs?”
In the marketing world a significant amount of energy is spent defining target markets in order to be effective with a limited resource. Common segments include
How can we apply this is the agricultural sector?
1. Geographical – in terms of agriculture we do this quite well. We think about the location, rainfall, soil types of the farmers we are working with and whether the practice/ innovation we are encouraging them to adopt will fit within their system.
- Consider the stage of life cycle on the farm – is the business in wind down mode, or building for the next generation, how many families are being supported by the business? Is the next generation coming home or is this the end of the line for that farming family.
- Education level will impact on approaches to analytical thinking vs intuitive thinking which in turn impacts on decision making processes.
- Are we targeting a particular age group? Different age groups vary in their preferred means of communication, perspective and engagement methods.
- Gender is another important consideration, not all farmers are male and the women on farms play an important role in farm decision making. Has the female been considered and included.
3. Psychographic – These are important considerations which are often completely overlooked.
- They include the farmers status in the community, is he respected (a champion) and how important is it to be seen “doing the right thing”?
- Values, beliefs and attitudes play a very important role in marketing. What are some of the generic values of the farmers we are working with and how can we tap into these to attract their attention?
- Personality type analysis has been carried out in agriculture, this has been discussed in an earlier blog. Farmer personality types
- Lifestyle grouping – are they a commercial farmer, a lifestyle farmer or perhaps a traditional farmer?
- Think about where farmers sit of the adoption curve – how open are they to new innovation? Are they the first in the district to jump on board with a something new or do they like to sit back and watch until the early adopters have overcome any problems.
- How loyal are they to a particular service, commodity and approach? The stronger the loyalty the more difficult the change.
Next time you are considering a communication or extension program spent some time thinking about your target audience and plan a strategic approach rather than jumping in with a generic one. I’d be keen to hear about the impacts!
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