We spend a lot of time and effort in the agrimarketing world thinking about what makes a particular buyer tick when it comes to purchasing a product or service. These efforts take on all sorts of different approaches, based on the particular needs or pain points we are addressing. There are so many layers and components in B2B marketing, especially in agribusiness – finding the right message can be a huge challenge and is always highly subjective because ultimately, the value has to be somehow demonstrated at the grower’s level.
I’ve seen demand generation defined as the focus of targeted marketing programs to drive awareness and interest in a company’s products and/or services. In other words, the marriage of marketing programs to a structured sales process. In B2B agrimarketing, the target audience could be OEMs, distributors/dealers or even the final customer – growers – since they, too, are a part of the B2B buyer group, even though they are also a consumer. That’s where things can get a little tricky. We’re all consumers, but in the agribusiness world, the grower is also a business owner looking to sell his or her product(s) even further down the line to other businesses, either directly or indirectly.
GENERATING PRODUCT DEMAND WHEN B2B BUYER IS ALSO THE CONSUMER
So how do we generate product demand for an agribusiness audience? In my experience, I’ve seen that while some of the more recently effective tactical inbound elements like SEO, social media marketing and email marketing might work in theory, for the agroindustry audience more traditional types of tools and tactics should be considered. For instance, hard-copy brochures, spec sheets, print ads, etc. As a client once said, “Less fancy computer stuff and more hands-on.” This makes sense as some of the more mature audience members may not be fully up on the latest trends. And to add to it, the industry as a whole is still more of the handshake deal-maker types and they tend to want to sell and buy face-to-face.
To be successful in agrimarketing it’s necessary to look at a broad mix of touch points, depending on your audience. Duh, you say. Sure, it does come down to marketing common sense in most regards, but you need to really look at things strategically to nail it properly. Generally, a large part of differentiation in the agroindustry comes down to commodity-type pricing throughout the food chain (pun sort of intended). True effectiveness in driving demand for agribusiness products or services comes down to the value proposition and solving the pain-point for the buyer. Price is definitely important, but you typically want to avoid relying on price alone. You might make it up in volume, but you will always be subject to having the next guy come in and cut his price and then you lose out, sometimes over pennies.
THE FACTS-FIRST APPROACH
Defining and honing your value proposition is more important than you think. Look at it from the buyer’s perspective – “What’s in it for me?” Focus on the pain point. Don’t know what that is? Ask. What keeps the customer up at night? Low yields? The rising cost of materials or imports? Process management? Lack of technology? Too much technology? You get the point. Once you find the true pain points, look at what you have to offer to solve that particular issue for the buyer. Sounds simple, but until you really dig in and do the research, you might miss it.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you offer a technology or product that will save the ultimate buyer (the grower) key resources in his/her operation. Could be feed, could be water, could be fuel. Once you get an idea of the pain point, build your marketing case around solving it. Agribusiness margins are tight – you need to present data and do it in a concise and direct manner – no fluff. If your product or service will add enough to the bottom line to pay for itself in a short amount of time, say it.
While the agribusiness buyer will also use emotion in the purchase decision, a facts-first approach is your best bet. Showing the value and backing it up with your experience and understanding of their pain point is a great one-two punch. By truly understanding and communicating a valuable solution, you will ultimately set yourself apart from the commodities mix and the “me-toos”.
Do the research, find the pain points, and develop the value proposition. Think about this way – what would drive YOU to buy your product or service? Figuring all that out takes a dedicated and focused effort. Looking for an agency to help with your agrimarketing? Give us a call – we’re always up for the next challenge.