This is why so much rural marketing is shite (and what we can do to fix it)

Most rural marketing is mediocre and misses the mark. Why? Because it doesn't connect with the conversation customers are having with themselves. Such a simple principle, yet so often over-looked.

Most marketing managers are hell-bent on showing how clever and creative they are using wanky words to impress, they forget to use the actual language and words of their customers. Worse, they abdicate that responsibility to their cool, funky met based ad-agency who have never stepped on a farm who's guessing and learning as they go (it shows).

Much like farmers don't want to be treated as average, we are seeing some very average advertising (example: a farmer on a yoga mat promoting flexibility in a field - pleeeease. You're making them look like prize dicks when we all know they are far more intelligent and resourceful people who could buy you and me 5x over).

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The questions you need ask yourself before you begin planning your rural marketing message are:

  • what are your customers thinking and feeling?

  • what are they saying and doing?

  • what are the things or factors causing their biggest fears, risk or anxieties?

  • what are the specific words, language, terminology or phrases that they use?

  • what would they relate to most and why?

When you take the time to do this exercise your rural marketing message will be far more effective because you're fare more likely to connect with your customer's world (theirs, not yours).

"But I'm a customer just like them/I come from a farming family/insert A Another vague assertion..."

Really?

Do you get up at 5.30am to turn on the milk vat in the freezing f cold 10 days into your 12 day roster in Winton with a 25% dairy debt servicing cost gnawing away in the back of your mind because Fonterra has just cancelled their dividend for the second straight year who then has to go into a shitty, pugged paddock to pull some calves out of a kiwi cross cow's arse who's lame and down?

Newsflash: you are nothing like them.

You are working in warm, air conditioned office on your second latte thinking about where you will have lunch and hoping your flash agency will come up with all the ideas to make you look good.

In most cases it will be the complete opposite. Blind leading the blind each paying lip service to each other's egos.

The best advice I can give you comes from one of the best advertising copywriter's of the 19th century:

"You must enter the same conversation your customer is having with themselves" - Robert Collier

So simple yet so poignant.

Find out what conversations your customers are having with themselves and then show that you know this and get this by using the same words, languages and phrases. That way your copy and content is more likely to talk to them.

We did a recent workshop with a client and I asked the farmer in the room what happens the night before the AssureQuality guy turns up. He says he goes round the house to find different coloured pens to fill the diary to look like he's been filling it in. Boom. Insight found and image sorted:

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What stand up comedians can teach us about resonation.

The best comedians (Steve Martin, Michael McIntyre, Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Eddie izzard etc) experiment and test their messages before they go big. So should you.

They study and observe their market and then work out a skit, sketch or story that they know people can relate to.

Jerry Seinfield is one of the best in the business when it comes to observational comedy:

So get off your arse, be the professional you are and stop polluting marketing channels with crap content. Be a better marketer who takes the time to park their own ego and immerses themselves into their customer world, rather than pretend to know or guess it.

Don't take the easy, lazy, short, quick option. They don't exist. The prize for greatness is depth, discipline and diligence. Do the hard yards instead.

Focus on your message before your medium. Remember it's always psychology before technology, or horse before cart.

Of course you can ignore all this if you want and continue to murder a mass amount of your marketing money on vanity metrics or you can get smarter with a hope of being promoted because your content and communications actually connect with and qualify customers. Aka. the job you are paid to do.

Fired-Up Friday rant over.

Let the debate and abuse begin people.