Many of our ag clients run successful businesses, some that have been thriving for generations. But that doesn’t mean they’re successful marketers. Agriculture has traditionally been a word-of-mouth business with strategic growth initiatives 100% contingent on “coffee shop talk.”

Want to learn about a new piece of equipment? Go to the coffee shop. Curious about planting a new crop? Coffee shop. Wondering about an assessment you don’t quite understand? Coffee. Shop.

Those were the wonderful old days that the four Cox generations preceding mine enjoyed, and it was a trusted way of doing business. In fact, word-of-mouth marketing (coffee shop talk) is still ag’s most powerful marketing method in farming communities. These days, however, marketing options are plentiful, technology is hugely helpful, and customer feedback comes from the corner booth, online reviews, and everything in between.

I advise most of our ag clients to stand strong in their relationships and continue to invest in personal interactions. But they also need to remember that today’s farmers, particularly millennials, will do plenty of due diligence and online research before agreeing to a business relationship. If your ag company is not investing in a clean and tidy website and social media experience, you’ll probably find yourself feeling pretty lonely at the ol’ coffee shop.

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