How To Connect With Farmers

By Marki Landerud, VP/Partner, Account & Business Development Director

December 09, 2019

Ag marketing has its fair share of complex target audiences, but perhaps the most  complex, and most important, is the farmer audience. Not only are there huge differences within the various segments of the farmer audience, farmers don’t always fall neatly within the business-to-business or business-to-consumer assignments we so often rely on.

Like most strategic marketers, we create in-depth personas to better understand the  demographics and psychographics of our audiences. From livestock to produce, small  farm to big farm, our pool of farmer audience personas is broad. But it still left us with questions when it came to execution. Namely—what communication approach works best when it comes to tactical execution?

We typically hear that farmers want it straight, and that they value personal  relationships. So, does that mean that conversational ads that cut the bull is the best approach? At the same time, we know that farmers are people first, just like any other set of target audiences, so does that mean a more emotional or humorous approach makes sense?

In an effort to get to the bottom of our questions, we reached out to farmers and showed them various ad approaches so we could stop guessing and start dialing in on our
creative strategies.

What we found was insightful and inspirational. Here are a few key takeaways.

Farmers far underestimate the number of times they see marketing messages.

To get some grounding into how farmers feel about marketing messages, we asked them to report on how many messages they see a day. Thirty nine percent of farmers believed they saw fewer than ten. Considering the average consumer sees between 4,000 and 10,000 ads a day, this tells us that farmers don’t always know when they are seeing a marketing proposition.

Online continues to shine.

Not surprisingly digital continues to be the place farmers go to for information. Of those surveyed, 75% cited the internet as their most used media vehicle, followed by TV, radio and magazines.

Funny thing is…

Of all the communications approaches shared with farmers, humor fared the worst, with only 34% of those surveyed responding favorably. While funny ads might capture attention, when asked if the approach made you want to learn more or increase interest in what’s being promoted, it wasn’t the most popular choice.



Getting to the heart of the matter.

Keeping it simple and to the point was the approach that best resonated in the survey. But it was followed very closely with an emotional approach. Respondents particularly liked the use of children in ads, as well as messages around the topic of planning for the future and growth. So, while it’s important to cut the fluff, that doesn’t mean you have should stay away from warmer copy points and softer imagery.

Insights should inform strategy, not be the strategy.

We use research like this as a key part of our creative strategies, but there are many other factors to consider, such as the product type you’re advertising and the current state of the market. These factors need to play side-by-side with data like this in order to ensure your ultimate success in moving business forward.

Want to learn more?

We recently presented our findings to the National Agri-Marketing Association. You can watch the full presentation here.

Or, reach out to me directly at I’d be happy to share our insights to help you dial in on your strategies.


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