4 Beasts That Terrify Ag Marketers

by Clara Jacob
December 21, 2015

“The future is here – it’s just not very evenly distributed,” author William Gibson said famously.

While our consumer marketing counterparts have been wrangling new beasts for some time now, ag marketers have had the luxury of comfortably watching from the stands.

Because our world is changing faster than ever, nobody has a clue what’s next. In all probability, some new technology will change everything again, just like fire, the wheel, electricity and NFL instant replay did in their day.

Ag marketers need to catch up quickly. If you haven’t yet jumped into the arena, now is the time.

The First Beast: Digital Marketing

You’re right to be terrified of this beast. It’s a moving target with dozens of hairy appendages.

But if your company isn’t involved with some kind of digital marketing, you’ll probably be left behind.

In fact, in her predictions for 2016 marketing in Forbes, Kimberly Whitler says “digital marketing will cease as marketers shift to marketing in a digital world.” This means that digital is a given – it’s primary, not secondary.

It’s a paradigm shift. Here at Paulsen, we realized some time ago that digital is part of everything we do – so we don’t treat it separately.

In other words, the first Beast is here to stay.

First, run, don’t walk, to your computer and learn everything you can about content marketing, inbound marketing, demand generation, pay per click, SEO, KPIs, etc.

And then, be brave. Those hairy appendages will be waving around in your face. But your mission is to hold fast to the magic key – which is your marketing expertise.

The only way to tame the Digital Marketing Beast is with clear business objectives and strategic thinking. When you see this beast for what it is, your terror will abate, and you’ll become truly excited about the possibilities for ag marketing.

The Second Beast: Mobile First

This is the beast we’ve seen coming our way for several years now. The closer it comes, oddly enough, the smaller and faster it gets.

That’s because it has to fit on a mobile screen. Along with everything else. Right now, if not yesterday.

According to the Goodway Group:

In the ag sector, we’ve seen several client sites hit the tipping point this year – sooner than we expected – where more than 50 percent of traffic is coming from mobile devices.

Not only are your prospects and customers viewing your site on mobile – but Google is ranking your site based on how mobile-friendly it is.

Mobile First doesn’t just mean resizing your web content. It means thinking differently about how you communicate. And it means focusing on user experience.

For example, unless your fingertips are the size of the sharp end of a pencil, you’ve probably hit the wrong letter or button on your touchscreen. Mobile First means placing links far enough from each other that users can tap the right one.

Still doubting that the Mobile First Beast is coming for you?

Then see for yourself. Using your own mobile device, visit a site that’s not mobile-friendly. Try to find information on that site. Actually, try to read anything on that site.

It’s a terrible experience. And instead of delivering content, it delivers the message that the brand is behind the times and doesn’t care about its customers.

Ouch. That’s a beast that bites in ag and every other sector. You can’t afford to wait any longer to tame Mobile First.

The Third Beast: Speed

Fast Company editor Robert Safian predicts “Speed Will Triumph” in the years to come: “The best soccer teams in the world emphasize pace of play over perfection. They recognize that keeping the ball moving quickly is better than waiting and trying to make the ideal pass.”

That’s enough to strike terror into the most hardened marketer’s heart. Has speed really become more important than substance? Even in ag?

In fact, failure due to delays is common. Many of us have experienced the disappointment of seeing a competitor beat us to market.

And in many ways, speed already dominates. Important news is released on Twitter. Why? Because it’s faster.

As a writer, I see speed trumping correct grammar and punctuation all too often.

We have trouble tackling this beast because it’s so fast on its furry little feet. The fact is, in order to catch it, we need to change our processes.

You’ve probably heard of Agile software development. According to Wikipedia, “it promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, continuous improvement and encourages rapid and flexible response to change.

Being agile, in this and every sense, can help us subdue the Speed Beast. And once we’ve got it under control, we can gain a clear edge in the ag market.

The Fourth Beast: Content

Your email box is filled with content about content. (Remember when email was going to make life easier? Right.) So you’ve been face-to-face with this beast.

It’s weighty. Kind of like Godzilla. Taking over, threatening the world order.

But this beast looks kind of familiar. Oh, wait. It used to be called creative, and it was warm and fuzzy.

Why do you need to worry about content? Because everybody else is. Ag marketers included. According to the Content Marketing Institute:

Everywhere you market, in every medium, you need content. Of course, you especially need content for your website, social media, email marketing, earned media and inbound marketing machines.

And the thing about the Content Beast is that it’s insatiable. We can’t just create content and move on. We have to keep feeding it – creating more and better content. Day in and day out.

Your customers are looking for solutions to their problems. Your content is what they’re going to find – but only if your content is there.

Consequently, it’s important to accost this beast as soon as possible. Grab a tuft of fur and hold on.

Start with strategy. Who’s your target? How can you solve your customers’ problems? What do you want to communicate?

Next, devise a process that works to deliver up a steady stream of content. Maybe it’s internal – maybe it’s external – or maybe a combination.

You’ll have the Content Beast purring in your lap in no time, and surrendering up bazillions of marketing possibilities.

Calling in Reinforcements

If you need assistance with Digital Marketing, Mobile First, Speed or Content, Paulsen can help. We’ve been taming beasts, solving client problems and creating stellar content since 1951.