Fall has been wonderful here in East Texas. Granted, it takes two months for the leaves to fall here instead of two weeks, as it does in Minnesota, but today is a lovely 63 degrees. Snow is falling in Minneapolis, where the high is not expected to get above freezing. Brrr.
I don’t mean to brag about the weather but it’s hard not to. That’s not really the topic of today, though.

Today’s topic is IRONY.

Here’s my irony for today. Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) marketers (think toothpaste) are spending millions of dollars to create relationships with their consumers. Personalized experiences powered by AI, and yada, yada, yada. But do these consumers really care to have a personal relationship with Crest or Colgate? Color me skeptical.
But down on the farm, agricultural suppliers are trying to scale, move to ecommerce, create mega-chain equipment dealerships and co-ops, and provide crop consulting via satellite images. Color me even more skeptical!
I listened to six leading farmers yesterday and from their point of view a person wants a relationship with somebody who knows them, their farm, and somebody who cares about their success.

Not a personalized email but a handshake.

Not a cute Facebook ad but a phone that is answered at 8 o’clock on a Sunday night.
Which brings me back to another difference between rural East Texas and metropolitan Minnesota: Relationships are important here. You get to know the grocery store checkout girl and ask her about her show beefers. You care about the man who brings your groceries to the car.
So, is the desire for relationships with the people we do business with just something that rural people want and get because we see each other more often?

Or is it something farmers deserve because they are trusting their suppliers with their heritage, their livelihood, and their future? 
Being a preferred supplier starts with wanting to be a good friend.
As one of the farmers I’ve talked with recently said: “Geez, act like you want my business.”

Interested in reading more?

What Makes Farmers Love Their Suppliers?

Fall Harvest: Every Kernel Counts

As Good Is Not Good Enough