Why Your Rural Marketing Needs To Be Less Efficient And More Effective

 In All, Rural Marketing

An age-old argument. A bit like chicken and egg. Which comes first: efficiency or effectiveness?

I’ll declare I am firmly in the effectiveness camp.

And I’ll tell you why:

I see so many hard working rural companies wasting their hard-earnt marketing money. It breaks my heart to see ill-informed busy, rural business owners blind to this (this is why I take the time to write blogs like this).

Example 1: “Spray and Pray, Hit n’ Hope” Advertising

Whilst I can’t claim copyright on this, for those that know me I am not a fan of traditional advertising. I hate it almost as much as I hate Facebook paid ads and Google Adwords (both a waste of time but more on that later. For the sleep deprived, you can check out the podcast I did with NZ’s first Google accredited content agency which explains why).

Targeting everyone means you target no one.

A bit like if you don’t stand for something, you stand for nothing (much like the generic “we do everything” agencies we inherit work from who proudly proclaim they are positioning experts yet can’t prove this with their own business: authority zero).

Most rural companies keep opting for the easy efficient, fast-fix route ie. spray and pray advertising aka. mass marketing.

Countless farmer panels we’ve run tell us this doesn’t work.

We have to take our clients to their market to hear and understand this so we can blinker them from their bias. They often don’t believe us so we put them in front of those who matter most: the paying customer.

If they then ignore this intelligence then they have told us and themselves they know better than their market.

This is the reason we are big fans of deploying a district and driveway strategy (I haven’t worked out how to copyright this one but I am going to claim it because we’ve used it and we know it works. Drop me a message if you want to find out more).

Winning sales and market share is a long-term, trust-building process like “overnight success is a 10 year journey”.


This harder, granular approach takes longer but the pay off is much bigger when you commit to it.

Most rural marketing managers I meet want the quick fix. The pain pill. Like the best things in life tell you, good things take time and the best things are hard-fought things.

Being granular allows you to be more specific and relevant. You can demonstrate you know what matters to your market instead of a scatter-gun blast that misses the target.

Like a magnifying glass trying to create a fire, you have to hold it still to make an impact.


You can be efficient working on the wrong things.

A bit like being busy. Are you busy doing the wrong stuff or the right stuff?

A social media strategy might be great but if all you’re getting is likes from your paid employees or family and friends it’s not effective.

Having meetings talking about marketing might seem productive. The same goes for producing another powerpoint deck. Until the ideas are executed nothing happens.


Being more efficient is fine but it’s usually internally-focussed and self-serving.

What’s efficient for you (an “email blast”) might be ineffective for your customer (“why I am getting offers on email on a product I don’t even use?”). If you’d taken the time to segment your list you could get a greater result.

In your quest for efficiency, you’ve forgotten that effectiveness matters more. You’re pursuing your own interests ahead of your customers.


  • How do you measure your current effectiveness personally and professionally?
  • How are you measuring the effectiveness of your rural marketing currently?
  • What metrics do you use?
  • Do you attribute your actions to tangible outcomes that boost your bottom line?
  • Do your behaviours result in positive results?

You need to put metrics in place or you will never know if the interventions you make are having any impact.

Without metrics you are flying blind relying on anecdotal instead of evidential. A dangerous path skewed by bias and blind spots that might end in mistakes and missed sales.

It’s time you focus on being more effective, not more efficient. Be busy doing the right stuff, not the wrong stuff.

Everyone wins more that way.


If you’re struggling to get the effectiveness and payback you think you deserve from your rural marketing please get in touch for a chat: stjohn@agrarian.co.nz. We can share the same strategies and systems we’ve used to great success with many rural companies just like you.

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