847.720.4495 info@bartonchicago.com

Digging sticks, hoes, mattocks, tractors, and… smartphones? The Evolution of Agrimarketing.

Digging Sticks farm equipment

Ever since the rise of farming around 9,000 B.C. fundamentally changed the way people have lived, new technologies have helped further the progress of agriculture. For example, the use of digging sticks, hoes and mattocks among people who were learning to till the land transformed farming. The story of agrimarketing and the technologies have furthered that field has a similar narrative. We have moved well beyond the days when one farmer told another about a new idea that worked. Today, a wide variety of tools are at our disposal as we tell the story of the important role that agriculture plays in every aspect of our civilization.

Since 1905 when the University of Pennsylvania offered a course in “The Marketing of Products,” the growth of agrimarketing has paralleled the general field. Print, radio, and television have all played a role along with targeted marketing, relationship marketing and guerilla marketing. We have learned that we must play the advocate with the general public because such a small percentage of the general public really understands where food comes from and how it is produced. And since anti-agriculture groups are so passionate about concepts such as non-GMO-labeling, water usage and animal rights, if the general public is to understand the depth and breadth of those topics and others like them, it is the people who work in the field—no pun intended—who must provide them. And we must learn to provide them in a channel that will best reach each audience we seek to reach.

New devices are joining the toolbox to make that job more effective every day. I was not surprised to learn recently that 69 percent of farmers now use a Smartphone with that figure expected to rise to 87 percent by 2016. Twitter provides an avenue for short messages limited to 140 characters which appear on followers’ home pages and link to websites. Facebook provides a venue for videos, photos and longer descriptions—including testimonials. Google+, LinkedIn, Yelp, YouTube, Foursquare, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pintrest all have their place in a total agrimarketing program that increases the impact of crowdsourcing to provide immediate results on messaging.

Whether you are comfortable with all these new methods for executing a total marketing plan or if they sound like a foreign language to you, when I think about marketing today I am reminded of a song my sister used to sing when she was in Girl Scouts. “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold.” As we embrace the new media, we must not forget the old.

At the Barton Marketing Group, we specialize in life sciences and agriculture so we can help you craft a message with a holistic approach. We will help you reach the audiences you need by using the best new tools available and continue to use the channels that have proven the test of time.

How Agrimarketing is Different

How Agrimarketing... wheat field

Do you remember the television ad that shows a man on the phone with his doctor trying to get directions to do his own surgery? After listening for a moment, he says “Shouldn’t you be doing this?” We all want the best counsel when we engage a professional—and that includes marketing. And that’s why when you are communicating about agronomy to people who no longer understand who farmers are, what they do, and how the very civilization of the world depends on them, it makes sense to choose an agrimarketer to tell your story. 

Once upon a time most people lived close to the land. Because they grew their own food, no one had to tell them how vital agriculture was to their survival. Their lives were intertwined with the seasons and revolved around plowing, planting, growing and reaping. Even though they knew that some soils were more productive than others, they rarely examined them below the level where crops grew. Soil was something that would always be there—or so they thought.

When the discipline of soil science was born in 1870, soils began to be identified as independent natural resources, each with distinct properties resulting from a unique combination of climate, living matter, parent material, relief, and time. Coincidentally, when soil science was in its adolescence around the turn of the 20th Century, the basic concepts of marketing began to be explored. By the 1960s when the field of marketing was differentiated according to discipline, the marriage of these two fields resulted in the birth of agrimarketing.

Today just two percent of the total U.S. population works to produce, process and sell the nation’s food. Because such a small number of people have a connection to the land, when most people think about the food supply, they think about their local grocery store. But ultimately soil sustains life and is a finite natural resource.

Today, agronomists are the frontline warriors in the defense of civilization and the protection of the environment. Not only do they help to feed a hungry world, but they also have the power to inspire future leaders in this global struggle to maintain a safe, affordable and abundant food supply as well as a viable environment.

Barton Marketing Group specializes in life sciences and agriculture, I can help you reach the audiences that need to hear the stories that you have to tell.