On a flight to Kansas City last April, I was taking part in your normal “plane talk”. Passing time by talking to others in the seats next to me; asking about themselves and their job. When they asked me what I was headed to Kansas City for, I explained how I was an advisor for a collegiate agri-marketing team. The team was competing in the National Agri-Marketing Association’s (NAMA) collegiate contest. They then asked me, “What is agri-marketing?”
This question stopped me for a second. I had studied it…. And participated in it…. And yet, I don’t think I had ever had to define what agri-marketing was until that day. And in my sad attempt to describe what it takes to market an agricultural service, product, industry, etc., the poor souls sitting next to me probably had a lot more confusion than clarity from my drawn-out, not-so-thought-out response.
However, I have had a lot of time to think about what agri-marketing is! And thankfully my airplane speech has come a long way since April.
Here is my short, to-the-point definition:
Agri-marketing is the process of researching, analyzing, advertising, imaging, communicating and selling an agricultural product and/or service.
Great definition, right? Well, not really. It’s great to be short and to-the-point but this definition doesn’t really tell anyone anything. And in fact, probably left you thinking, “Ok… So what? What does that even mean?”
I want to go a little more in-depth and really showcase what agri-marketing is. For the sake of the rest of this post, I am going to refer to it as marketing from now on.
Marketing is research.
I hope that from the beginning of your business venture you have seen research is vital to your every decision. You researched the possibility of being able to sell your product/service. You researched your competition. And you researched the plausibility that you will make it in the marketplace.
To best reach your consumer and distribute your product/service, you must research your product, price, place and promotion (the 4 P’s we will talk about later in this blog series).
Marketing is the process of analyzing.
Marketing never really ends. You use it from the beginning of your business venture all the way through the end (if there is an end… and hopefully there’s not). Analyzing begins when you begin researching. You analyze the data you find about the marketplace and make decisions about your business. Analyzing continues as you begin implementing a marketing plan. Once a campaign runs, it is important to analyze what went well with the campaign and what did not go well. Then use that insight to drive future decisions.
Marketing is communications.
I think best way to describe marketing is you are communicating with your audience. Marketing is more than just making sales. Rather, it involves connecting with your audience so that they feel like they are part of your business in order to showcase your product/service/industry/etc. to a group of individuals.
Marketing is imaging.
They say a “picture is worth a thousand words.” I can’t help but agree. When we consider what speaks to our customers, images become a very important mechanism of communicating to an audience. When creating marketing strategies, the images and graphics created for a product are extremely important.
Sales and advertising are marketing.
But marketing is not necessarily sales. When I first decided I wanted to go in to marketing, many people said to me, “Ugh I could never be a salesperson.” And my response was simply, “Neither could I.” Trust me when I say I hate sales. When I work at the retail counter at my parent’s meat shop, I probably give away more product than I am should – all because I feel bad asking for money from people (sorry Dad and Mom).
Marketing is a driving force behind sales. Marketing gives you the tools to capture the attention of potential customers and facilitate the possible purchase of the product/service.