Four Factors for Ag Marketers to Grow Successful Campaigns

Making a livelihood off the land is a business like none other. Farmers and ranchers, also known as producers, tackle multiple challenges that rely on expertise in many disciplines. From securing inputs and equipment to engaging in the marketplace to sell products at season’s end, every decision can have a big impact. Add in countless variables, like weather and pests that must be monitored and managed constantly, ag producers lead a distinctive lifestyle where each day is unique.

“…wise marketers learn what triggers market opportunities, and plan to attack.”

Agribusinesses represent a significant portion of the ag ecosystem—that is, those who serve all the product and operations needs of ag producers. For agribusiness marketing teams, well, they may have the biggest challenge: Connecting their brand’s solutions with farmers and ranchers. This rather niche target audience’s challenges often include limited access to technology, excessive time in the field, and reliance on cyclical seasonal habits.

These unique challenges add nuance to the standard marketing model. As marketers, there is an emphasis on connecting at the right time, using the right platforms, while delivering the right message, but other factors are at play. Let’s take a look.


Four Factors: Marketing to Farmers and Ranchers


1. Seasonality Impacts Timing and Message

There is a definitive ag cycle: planning, planting, growing, and harvest. Of course, this varies by crop, geography, soil type, and marketplace factors. Producers face complex journeys and business decisions across the cycle, focusing on the task at hand while looking to the future.

Successful ag marketing efforts combine softening the ground with introductory content leading to more direct, demand generation tactics. Agribusinesses should create content that shows them as experts in their business.

For example, a seed company should be showing domain expertise on all aspects of seed products. Expertise grows credibility while creating awareness and overall brand recognition. Brand messaging is more than just the features and benefits of the seed. Establishing overall expertise through smart, relevant content leads to awareness and trust with producers.

Developing a timing plan leads to a seasonal approach with prospects and nurturing relationships. There are many steps within the marketing funnel that lead to sales. Once a messaging and content plan is in place, shrewd marketers then plan timing within the ag cycle to begin the communication process and sales follow-ups.


2. Technology: On-the-Go

Rural access to communications technology, think broadband internet, is a challenge for modern ag marketers. Luckily only 22.3% of rural residents, per the USDA, still lack broadband access. But this has only fallen in the last decade—thanks to government resources. And while a large percentage is still without access, digital promotions are still the most efficient and effective way to tactically connect with farmers and ranchers.

“Having the most accurate producer database in the industry, targeting specific producers and defined audiences helps ag marketers refine costs and impressions.”

But technology challenges extend beyond access. The daily operations of farming means wearing many hands-on hats that keep them in the field, in the barn, and many miles in the pickup; producers will never be confused for office workers at a desk. So, they shouldn’t be marketed in the same way.

Given their on-the-go livelihood, most producers’ business communications are managed from mobile phones/devices. Plus, real-time information remains critical to track weather and market prices. A severe storm can force immediate needs, so wise marketers learn what triggers market opportunities, and plan to attack.


3. Proving Your Value

Producers tend to be risk averse. They aren’t likely to be persuaded by clever messaging and empty promises. Instead, ag marketers should be direct to prove their value.

Testimonials demonstrate solutions in action and give producers more confidence for how outcomes would work on their farm. Case studies featuring actual (versus hypothetical) customers build credibility. Farmers often look to others for best results before trying new products or solutions.

Producers will always want to understand the expected financial impacts before taking on any new expenses. Ag solutions that prove its ROI will always be chosen over a generic value proposition. For example, when selling seed varieties, demonstrating specific yield impacts or water needs give producers bottom-line factors for consideration.

A great tool that proves value is called a product calculator. While they can be difficult to create, product calculators provide specific financial factors that producers are looking for.


4. Media Consumption Behaviors

In rural communities across America, media consumption varies. Traditional media including print and radio still have value for farmers, while modern digital tactics like social media and online display advertising are continuing to blossom. There are long-standing ag trade magazines, trade shows, and industry newsletters that still hold interest and credibility.

Producers are consuming webinars, podcasts, and relevant social media groups. Ag marketers who understand these new tactics can gain an advantage by executing wholistic campaigns with greater frequency.

Print media still commands ag audience demand. Our own publication, Progressive Farmer, still has over 275K monthly readers. That’s because print is especially suited for complex businesses like farming. Its long-form content is often necessary to address the complexity and nuance of certain ag topics.

Despite trends, in agribusiness print remains a strong venue for marketers, especially when combined with modern platforms and formats. When combined with digital, and the ability to refine their target audiences through programmatic campaigns, ag markets benefit from improved efficiency and effectiveness.

Backed by DTN FarmMarket data, DTN has invested heavily into programmatic advertising, known as AgTarget. Having the most accurate producer database in the industry, targeting specific producers and defined audiences helps ag marketers refine costs and impressions.



Ag marketers targeting producers have unique challenges because of their niche audience. Understanding how producers consume information, make decisions, and manage resources are important to strategizing a promotions plan. Managing these variables properly can make the difference in an agribusiness’ reputation, credibility, and long-term success.