Truth and proof are the currencies of trust and NZ Ag needs more trust than ever.
We are under huge pressure to prove to those outside our industry that we are the true stewards of the land we claim to be, that we treat our animals with care and compassion and that we are responsible and reliable employers. Succinctly summed up as our social licence to operate.
The problem with most rural marketing is it skims the surface. The posts, blogs and content I see and read talk in “we” language not “me” language. They serve their own needs rather than those of their customers. They stay superficial, shallow and self-serving rather than deep, specific and relevant. There's no compelling why.
It kills me when I meet rural companies that are visibly under-performing in sales yet still retain such an inwardly focussed vision. They focus on operations, they focus on finance, they focus on structures and org charts or value chains whilst failing to focus on the two things that are the lifeblood and priority of their rural business: sales and marketing.
When your rural marketing manager doesn’t know what he or she is doing it can get expensive. This problem is compounded by the fact that often management don’t know what they should be doing either. This is why they hired a rural marketing manager in the first place.
Telling the same story over and over again gets boring. It becomes tiresome for the listener and then they stop listening. That's the concern I have with all the talk I keep hearing about one NZ Ag Story when I attended this week's fantastic ASB AgriFood Week (run by the very competent CEDA team).
Don't beat yourself up 2019 people. I'm giving you permission to say it's ok to have enemies in business. Why? Because enemies energise you to become better so you can beat them. Not having enemies would make your life boring and meaningless. Who else will you compare your performance against if you didn't have enemies? Enemies fuel emotion, they muster motivation and they keep you on track so if you don't have one, got get one.
There’s a lot of crap content out there. My LinkedIn feed alone is full of self-promoting “look what we won” or “look what we did” humble brag types who should know better. Content like this clogs the channel and encourages your followers to unfollow you.
Growth for growth’s sake is a dumb strategy. In fact, it isn't a strategy at all. It signals loudly to everyone else you don't have one. We all want more profit but if that growth comes at a cost that reduces your margins or puts a crisis on your cash flow it isn't intelligent growth.
Do you want to be a more effective and valuable rural marketing manager who craves more reward and recognition for what you do? Do you want to secure that raise and promotion this year? Yes? Great, because I've written this blog just for you…
Business plans waste your time. Their only purpose is to appease the bank when you need a loan. After that, they gather dust never to see the light of day again. Stop wasting time writing business plans you’ll never use and start thinking about the business model you can employ. You only profit when you help your customers profit and a business model can help you do that in a way others can’t
Are you sick and tired of motivating your sales team? Frustrated why they’re not performing at a higher level despite your best efforts? Failing to get your message through? The reason is simple: you haven’t correctly identified what motivates your sales team as individuals and you’re using the wrong tools to motivate them.
Sales people can be very persuasive. It’s their job. This means you need to be especially on your game when interviewing sales positions. Doing your homework and preparing well, just like candidates, helps ensure an effective evaluation and selection process for both parties and can save you the very expensive mistake of making the wrong hire…
They call them vanity metrics. Likes and comments from loyal staff but no engagement from actual customers. The problem with vanity metrics is you're spending vast sums of time and money creating content that no one sees. It’s like you’re talking to yourself. Vanity metrics will never move the needle for your business. You need to change your social media strategy and content plans if you want to be noticed and get engagement. Here’s how…
Influence is something we all want. Whether it’s the board table, amongst peers or with our kids. But when it comes to marketing we ignore it. We reach out to our network before we Google or pay attention to any ad. So why haven’t we become students of influence when it’s proven to be so effective? So how you go about being more influential? The answer is simple: be useful…
Sales is getting harder for everyone. Only 29% of people want to talk to a salesperson to learn more about a product whilst 62% will consult a search engine. 57% of the purchase decision is complete before a customer even calls a supplier. Only 13% of customers believe a sales person can understand their needs. We need to get better and quicker at sales training.
We use supermarkets because they are convenient. It's easier to use a full service agency too but like relationships, opting for convenience can mean you're settling for second best. The problem with full service agencies is you pay a premium. You pay for all the bodies and lights in the building, not just the ones you use, through the overhead and profit multiples that agencies apply to their rates. Convenience becomes far less convenient when this happens.
Fonterra is too big and important as a $20 billion exporting company to fail for New Zealand and its farmer shareholder base. This isn't the time to look for blame. It's the time to look for solutions. However, the longer things stay the same, the longer nothing changes.
When we find truth we create trust so when it comes to branding you need to tell your truth and tell it well. That way people will know you're the real deal. Humans are hard wired to seek the truth. In court we vow to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God. The Hippocratic oath in essence means "do no harm". Marketers and their agencies could take that same oath...
Using the brand equity of someone else to prop up your own can signal a weak brand or a creative team out of ideas. It seems if you have little brand credibility, you can simply purchase it. Here are some examples on how you can build credibility in your own brand without relying on celebrity endorsement.
2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Fieldays at Mystery Creek and is the biggest show in town. Whilst it has many advocates, including its own passionate PR dept, equally there are as many who don’t like it, think it’s got too big and commit to regional field day events instead. The problem is unless you’re a big fish it is very hard to get cut through at National Fieldays…
We’re too small a country to be divided. Rather than look for differences and positions between rural and urban let’s look for a common ground and a shared vision: to be world-famous in food. When we get this right the world will love New Zealand even more.
Let’s talk towards this synthetic meat challenge and meet it head on, not shy away from thinking it might go away because it won’t. When it’s natural, real and as nature intended we have a real competitive advantage so long as we have our story straight.
Like our homes, lives, relationships and public infrastructure, brands need to be built on strong foundations and be kept well maintained. Short term cosmetics never pay off. If you build your brand right and maintain it regularly it will cost you a lot less and earn you much more in the long run.
Value add is a term tossed around so much it’s become meaningless and tiresome. People use it in the hope it will excuse them from the cognitive challenge of deeper thinking and problem solving. It’s a simplistic statement with those that use it in danger of being perceived as rather simplistic themselves. Like the catch cry “we just need to tell our story better”, value add is easy to say but far harder to execute. That’s why I’m calling for a moratorium on the term "value add" in NZ Ag until we’ve worked out how we properly define it and apply it.
Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) should be applauded for commissioning such a thorough analysis on the challenge and opportunities from alternative protein. Its Future Meat Report is a solid piece of work that will be doing the stakeholder rounds and roadshows up and down the country as we speak. However having read it what are the next actions? And does it go far enough?
Attacking a lead is such a simple concept yet why do so many sports teams and companies not do it? Defending is easier than attacking because it demands more effort, more energy and more skill. It's easier to sit back and protect what you have. This is why loss aversion is such powerful influence in human behaviour. We all know about Blockbuster, Nokia and Blackberry. What about NZ Ag? Attacked or defended environmental concerns? Fonterra? Attacked value add or defended WMP? Meat companies? Back foot or front on alternative proteins? Don’t get complacent. Don’t defend a lead, always attack one. It’s much better that way for everyone. Except for your competitors. Best to keep it that way...
Intrinsic motivation is the single biggest attribute I look for when I help clients recruit and manage sales teams. I define it as “the ability to kick their own arse”. Easy for any sales recruit to claim at interview but harder to prove. There are certain markers, or behavioural traits, that signal intrinsic motivation. If observed, these traits validate any claim of intrinsic motivation because it’s not what people say, it’s what they do that tells you what you need to know...
I’ve always been more interested in why people do what they do, not what they say. Because when you get past symptoms you can treat the root cause. As humans we always want to make sense of things. Yet the methods we use to understand why things are the way they are can vary greatly in their effectiveness...
“Marketing are cost centres and sales are profit centres.”When I look at this statement it’s generic but also contains some truth. Over the years I've seen plenty of marketers yet met very few who can sell despite sales being the commercial lifeblood for companies. Because of this I’ve always believed marketing should be a function of sales. Any marketing department that struggles with this definition is in danger of being that cost centre or overhead so the formula for me is simple: marketing teams deliver qualified leads for sales team to close.