I’ve been out conducting some focus groups with farmers recently, and what they said drove home a point I’ve actually known for years; I just didn’t realize how much this mindset rules their entire existence.
First off, farmers are some of the most information-seeking professionals I know. They actively seek new information to help their business all of the time. Most of them probably spend a couple of hours a day or more reading, listening, and watching for knowledge that will help them move their business forward. I don’t think even airline pilots do that, or cancer researchers.
But they also have one of the most “been there, done that,” attitudes you’ll ever see. They are always looking forward, so even though they have a detailed memory of each season that would put the world’s best weatherperson to shame, they are not particularly interested in what happened after learning from their mistakes or successes. They are not interested in rehashing old news.
I used to do a lot of research on what type of information farmers wanted from their precision systems. Knowing how much they had done was interesting, but definitely ho-hum. Knowing how much left they had to do, and how long it would take: Now that was valuable information! Better yet, if you could tell them if they had enough fuel left in the tank to do it, that was a winner.
As a company, when you put out information that you want farmers to read, listen, or view, ask yourself: Is this really new? How would knowing this change a farmer’s life for the better? Is it practical? Is it forward thinking, or am I really just rehashing old stuff?
You have all of 10 to 15 seconds to catch their attention before they hit the next button. And, one more tip: Use actual figures, not generalities. You’d be surprised at what they remember.
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