Agriculture is one of the most significant industries in Australia keeping the country’s economy up and running smoothly. Farming accounts for about 50% of Australian land use and produces a variety of primary foods like milk, meat, fruits, vegetables and nuts. With the agriculture industry and food demand growing exponentially, farmers and agribusinesses alike must feel the responsibility to keep up with the latest technology and leverage smart farming solutions to maximise efficiency and production on the farm while maintaining a sustainable and profitable agriculture business.
However, digitalising your farm and adopting advanced technology in your farming operations alone will not be enough to ensure high production and sustainability in the long-term, though it certainly does streamline your day-to-day operations and minimise labour costs. To drive success and maximise profits, farmers must integrate direct marketing into their existing marketing strategy.
What is Direct Marketing and Why Farmers Need It?
Direct marketing, also known as direct-to-consumer, is a way of selling or marketing your products directly to target consumers, eliminating the need for mediators. In a direct marketing system, farmers have the complete control over where and how they sell their products, their product pricing, data, profits and everything in between.
Selling at farm-direct markets gives producers and farmers the opportunity to connect with existing as well as potential customers directly, share with them their story and farm-related information to increase engagement and create an emotional bond that can further inspire trust and brand loyalty. By eliminating the middleman functions, farmers are able to cut out costs related to transpiration, storage and processing to earn higher profits. In addition, farmers can make their own marketing decisions – from what they produce to what varieties they sell at the farmers’ market and where and how they sell those products. The farmers can bring any quantity of produce to sell at the market without worrying about any fixed upfront requirements. Farmers’ markets have as flexible opportunities for large-scale experienced producers as for small farmers. Small farmers can bring small volumes of produce or test new varieties of products in the market without facing many challenges.
Furthermore, direct marketing farmers get easy access to market-related information, such as market prices of different products, supply and demand, consumer expectations and preferences and their shopping behaviours. This information helps you to gather customer feedback, market new products and test different prices with minimal risk.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
While direct marketing presents all sizes of farmers with endless opportunities for sales and growth, it is important to note that you will need to consider assistance from experienced farmers and even direct marketing experts to build a safe and strong strategy to get in the market. Leveraging the benefits of direct marketing and ensuring a successful marketing approach for your farm will require learning new skills or hire a professional with relevant expertise for your business.
In a nutshell, integrating farm-direct marketing into your existing agriculture marketing model can be looked upon as starting a small subsidiary business in addition to your farm production operation. While selling at direct markets greatly reduces the risks associated “selling through wholesale channels” – such as low commodity market prices, it also leaves you more exposed to other risks, like such a sudden drop in traffic due to some construction work near your farm or closing of your local farmers market due to some natural calamities.
As you plan on integrating direct marketing into your agriculture business and enter local farmers’ markets, remember that customers who regularly visit those local markets do not just seek cheaper alternatives to grocery stores or supermarkets for. Instead, they intend to buy healthy, fresh goods and learn about where their food comes from and how it is grown; they want to support local farmers, small producers and local economic development in order to reduce the environmental impacts of agriculture and food buying as a community. Keeping all that information in mind will help you make wise decision about how you want to produce food and present your products in the market to get the most out of your direct marketing venture.
While you set up your direct-to-consumer marketing system in the hope of enjoying better flexibility, higher profits and other benefits, understand that data-driven solutions are essential to ensure continued profitability and success in your farm business. Customers sure love vendors with low costs and great varieties, but it all comes down to data analytics that will drive the success of your marketing venture. KG2 enables you to access massive volumes of Australian agriculture data and combine it with your own farm data analytics to target the right customers at the right time with the right message. Our agriculture research experts can help you to build effective strategies to directly market to your consumers and connect with them on a personal level to inspire brand loyalty and drive sales.