In the constantly shifting landscape of the agricultural sector, the role of marketing is undergoing a profound transformation. Traditionally seen as a subservient supplier to sales teams, marketing is now emerging as a driving force for market development, customer growth and the identification of new opportunities. In this article we’ll look at why this shift is essential for the continued success and sustainability of agricultural businesses in an ever-evolving global marketplace.

From subservience to strategic lead

It’s fair to say that in the ag sector, marketing has often taken a backseat to sales, functioning primarily as a support function and consigned to creating the collateral sales teams need to talk to their customers.

However, the changing nature of consumer demands, technology advancements and global market dynamics requires the sector to rethink the role of marketing. Marketing is no longer just about selling products; it’s about understanding the market, building relationships and creating long term, sustainable value for both the business and the customer.

So how does marketing transition from a subservient role to that of a strategic partner? Well honestly it requires a complete shift in culture, driven by those at the top. But there’s plenty that marketing teams themselves can do to help drive this shift too. Aligning marketing efforts with the company’s long-term goals, actively participating in decision-making processes and collaborating closely with sales, R&D, product development and other key departments is a start.

Developing markets

The evolving role of marketing in agriculture means marketers have to think beyond traditional product promotion. They need to see themselves as the guardian of the consumer, the facilitator of market insight, the developer of new market opportunities. So they need to focus on identifying emerging trends, understanding consumer preferences and exploring untapped opportunities. By actively participating in market development, marketing teams can deliver more value to their internal stakeholders as well as helping to position their organisations as industry leaders and innovators.

In the age of sustainability and ethical consumerism, marketing can also play a pivotal role in promoting environmentally friendly practices and transparent supply chains. Communicating a brand’s commitment to sustainable agriculture not only resonates with conscious consumers but also opens doors to new market segments. In the future, it may well be the only way to ensure market access at all, so we’re seeing this become a higher priority for leading ag businesses almost by the day.

Growing new customers

If there’s one thing that’s driven me mad about the emergence and now dominance of digital marketing, it’s that it has brainwashed the marketing community into believing that their job is to identify and target their current customers. But what about growing new customers? Ambitious businesses should be constantly looking to build new demand, not just efficiently generate their current demand.

Certainly the advent of digital technologies has revolutionised the way businesses connect with their audiences. Marketing in agriculture is no exception. The focus has shifted from a reliance purely on traditional advertising to building meaningful personalised relationships with customers. Through content marketing, social media engagement and segmented communication, ag businesses now have all the tools they need to connect with consumers on a deeper level than ever.

Moreover, data and analytics allows marketing teams to gain valuable insights into customer behaviour, preferences and emerging trends. Armed with this information, businesses can tailor their strategies to attract and retain new customers effectively. Enriching what you know about your current customers to enable the creation of insight-led activity to attract new customers.

Identifying new opportunities

There’s an unprecedented opportunity for future-focussed ag marketers to step up right now. The changing role of marketing in the agricultural sector signifies a paradigm shift from a subservient internal supplier to a dynamic, strategic partner for their business. Marketing should be one of the key driving forces of the future success and sustainability of agricultural businesses.

Embracing this evolution is more than a necessity. It’s a strategic imperative for those looking to thrive in the ever-changing landscape of tomorrow’s agriculture.

Tracta | Champions of Agribusiness - Rural Specialist

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