The consideration cycle leading up to a purchase can last over a year.

by Mark Smither
January 10, 2012

Today’s modern farming operations are continually exploring ways to improve production. The challenges that come with increasing productivity also create a compelling need to make the right purchase decision. Whether it’s acquiring more acres, upgrading equipment, selecting new inputs or adding the latest technology, farmers are taking a very measured approach to making sure they “get it right.”

Adding to this challenge is the fact that many of these important purchase decisions are made by more than one person, such as a father and son(s) or father and daughter(s). This unique decision-making dynamic has many agri-marketers asking, “How do multi-generational farming operations make major purchase decisions?”

To answer this question, Paulsen conducted 14 different interviews with farm families across the Midwest. We spoke with two different farming demographics: older row crop producers, ages 46 to 70, and younger row crop producers, ages 25 to 45. These demographics represent a typical father-son(s) or father-daughter(s) farming operation. The purpose of these interviews was to gain insight into the purchase patterns of multi-generational farm families and identify ways agri-marketers can effectively reach this important audience.

This is what we learned: The consideration cycle leading up to a purchase can last well over a year.

The need to increase production is a continuous cycle. This is why farmers seem to be in a constant state of consideration. Further examination of this observation reveals two important findings:

Major purchase decisions require several different perspectives.
Traditional ag media is still highly valued between both demographics, especially when it comes to creating awareness and identifying a purchase need. Online channels are becoming more important for comparing and evaluating possible purchases. Peer recommendations and positive word-of-mouth are some of the most significant influencers when it comes to actually making a decision.

Younger producers may be willing to take more risks…to a degree.
The most noticeable difference in purchase philosophy between older and younger producers is this: younger producers are more comfortable making a purchase decision based on maximizing return or profitability; older producers seem to be more comfortable making purchase decisions based on minimizing costs. As a result, younger producers seem to be more willing to adopt a new piece of technology or try a different planting strategy.

With such a prolonged consideration cycle, agrimarketers have several opportunities to reach older and younger producers with different messages along a multitude of touchpoints. This is just one of the many observations discussed in Paulsen’s latest thought paper.

Read the complete paper and discover the key marketing takeaways.

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