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.