Agribusiness Marketing: Step-by-Step Guide to Find Market for your Agricultural Products

How stiff is the competition in your agribusiness? How do you intend to stay ahead of competition in business? What’s the average number of new customers that come to transact business with you daily? Do you know how to attract or find new customers for your agribusiness? Do you need marketing ideas for your agribusiness?

Is your agribusiness experiencing difficulties due to a shortage of customers? If I offer you effective agribusiness marketing strategies and ideas that will help you get new customers or clients; and also help you outperform competition, will you be willing to try them out? If your answer to the last question is yes, then read on.

Finding good customers is one of the challenges of starting an agribusiness and one peculiar thing about this challenge is that it never ends. From the day you start your agribusiness; your will constantly be in need of customers. But unfortunately, most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t know how to promote their businesses and those who are well grounded on the importance of marketing a business are short of marketing ideas.

In all, let`s get to work and identify some meaningful marketing strategies you can apply to win your market.

  1. Be the First in the Market

By far the most profitable marketing strategy is the marketing to the plain mind. Give me a second as I want you to see agribusiness marketing as you see the relationship between a man (the businessman) and a lady (the market).

How easy it is to get a 27 years old lady to fall in love with you? It all depends. If she has a serious relationship and other three men running after her, you`re in for a long walk (as Nelson Mandela titled his book). But what if she has nobody she`s dating now? You know what that means. You can get yes, even now.

That is how business world looks like. An innovatively new products or services get people’s attention so earn yes to their cash, easily. But can there be a completely new agribusiness product or service again? Yes, but waiting for it and working for it is beyond what most people are qualified for. Human beings are so weak that we don`t usually recognize that there may be the same engine in an unpainted Toyota can and a red coloured Toyota car.

You got it! There is a colour called blue and another one called yellow, but, yellow plus green is what we know as a new colour. Being the first person to introduce an innovative agribusiness product or service to the market is the greatest and the most powerful of all the marketing strategies.

  1. Be the First in a New Market

Eirtel is a Kenyan telecom company who came late to the market. Since the first market position (as explained above) has already been taking, they try to become a king in a new market. They target phone users who of course are browsing with their phone.

If you look at your agribusiness very well in your location, there are different categories and lines. If you cannot be the king for the whole market, don`t fight for the whole market. Identify a category where you can be the king.

This is an example: You want to start a dairy farming farm in your city or town, but there are already 52 dairy farms and seven of them are highly known. What can you do? Don`t sell your raw milk to the same market they are selling to. Add value to the milk e.g making yogurt or even you can specialise in selling dairy cows. You got that! Let`s move on.

  1. Be a Specialist

Don`t be a jack of all trade. Nobody will respect you. You can`t do all types of agribusinesses at a go. Identify 1 or 2 or at most 4 agribusiness opportunities and specialize in them.

This also applies to entrepreneurs offering agribusiness services. Think about this situation. You visit a friend and from there you’re having malaria and he tells you, ~Guy, I know of two hospitals in this environment. One is very good and treat just any disease, the other one is treating only malaria, which one will you love to go?

  1. Identify your position in the market

Every business market is eventually going to be divided into four. There will be a leader, a challenger, a follower and a nicher. Let me use Kenyan telecom industry to explain this. Safaricom is the market leader. Airtel is a challenger. Orange is the nicher while that ‘’guy’’, Yu Mobile is (unfortunately) the follower.

A leader is the king. He can sometimes have 40-60% of the market share. The challenger is a threat, looking for a possible chance just to kill the leader. He can be compared to the strongest opposition party in the political system. The nicher is that business whose owner admits the fact that he is too late to the market, but he is fighting for a part of the market, as explained in the number two above.

If you know your position in a market, you`re more likely able to know how to dominate your market.

  1. Tailor your tactics according to your market position

If you`re a leader, don`t tell your market you`re a specialist and if you`re a challenger, then, I am better is your message.

  1. Fight with your name

Your business name or farm name is far important than you think. Do we fight with our names in the business world? Not in business alone… everywhere in the world.

I know a very close lady friend who introduces herself as Lizy. When I heard her mum call her Elizabeth, I understood. Al Ries and Laura Ries write in their book, “The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding” that, the brand with a better name will come out on top. Your name is part of your marketing strategies.

  1. Appeal to a group of people

Seth Godin says, create a tribe. People love to belong, it`s our natural weakness. That`s why you see people identifying themselves with football clubs and social movements. Most people go to church simply because it gives them a sense of belonging. How can you ride on this human need of belonging? Structure your marketing message in such a way that shows that you are creating a tribe.

Think about my yogurt brand from my dairy farm, Kisii Highlands Yogurt. How does it sound? We choose that name so as to appeal to a group of people, Kisii and Nyamira county residents. Why is this very important? Because people love what is their own. You get it.

  1. Create a Unique Selling Promise

I came across the concept of the USP (Unique Selling Promise) in around 2007/8 when I was reading a book from Brian Sher, and since then, I have been applying this marketing technique. Look at your competitors very well and come up with their three major weaknesses that the consumers are complaining about.

Can you fill this gap? If yes, can you create a simple message that will tell your target market that you have filled that gap? Because Safaricom came up Kenya when there was no network in most towns and city, they smartly coined the Unique Selling Promise, everywhere you go! telling you, we`re there everywhere to give you network. Because Equity bank felt that many banks say no to people, I guess loan seekers, they coined the term, saying yes to your dream.

Because I found out that most dairy farms at my home in Kisii County are selling raw milk, I decided to sell pasteurized milk with Milk dispensing machine (ATM) and also adding value to milk by making yogurt.

Be unique and tell your market how you are unique. There is no better marketing strategy than this… as much as I know. When you are different, people will fall in love with you and your products/service.

  1. Perception wins, even when quality products fail

There was a market research to find out how people react to the taste of Coca-Cola and that of their enemy competitor, Pepsi. The outcome of that research teaches us marketer a great lesson… most people prefer the taste of Pepsi to that of coke.

So why does Mr. Coke remain the king in that market? Human beings usually (or always) judge the book by its cover. Many quality products and services are dead and forgotten. Let people perceive you as the best.

  1. Quality, yes, quality wins

This is counter-intuitive, I know. But not really. You see, we are already in a world of super stars. Just as I was explaining to two friends of mine yesterday, it seem extra-ordinary needs another extra to make it a winner in the present day world. You see, in the last 100 years, an average product, service, musician or footballer easily could get to the top, because there was few people in the world (less than 2 billions), there was little noise and there was so little competition.

For instance if you were making soap in the last 100 years, average quality soap I mean, you`re likely to become very rich because only few people (very few people) are soap makers in the whole of Africa. Today, the soap makers in Nairobi alone may be more than a thousand. So if you don`t have any quality thing to offer, please, go get job.

Don`t waste your time in the agribusiness world. However, always, I said always let your customers perceive your products or services as the quality. I insist this especially in fruits and vegetables farming. That is where the last point work with this one and make these two marketing strategies work together.

  1. Give out free samples or services

Do you have a great product that you want people to buy? They are skeptical about that product. You need to give them a taste of it. Remember the first time you visited an orange seller at the roadside. She understood that you may be doubting the quality of her fruits, so she offered you a taste of it. Car manufacturing companies, whenever they release a new car will offer people the free ride. This is a marketing strategy. This takes away people’s fear and attracts them to the new car.

  1. Spread like a contagious virus

The truth is, advertising is dying and may soon die. Why? Noisy. Noisy. Crowded. Because advertising is now everywhere, and hundreds of them for that matter, nobody is paying attention to adverts again (except a few brilliant ones of course).

When last did you react to a television advert? When last did you buy something because you read its advert on newspaper? Did you ever take your phone and call a line from a radio advert? Maybe no. So do you think your own advert will be diligently listened to? Think again.

But there is a way out… spread a contagious virus. This is what I mean. Create something that is great enough to catch someone`s attention. After such people fall in love with you, they are more likely to tell their friends about it. Can you remember few instances when you talked to a friend about a great fast food restaurant, a nice hotel or a great book? Now you can see. We love to talk about a good product or service to our friends. In fact, we are usually proud of them and talk about them on social media sites.

  1. Be consistent with your message

Don`t be surprised that Safaricom is still using The better option as their marketing message after around nine years of creating it. Whatever you stand for, be consistent.

  1. Be flexible

Don`t be surprised by this. Though consistency is good for you, your competitors sometimes will come up with a hard blow. To cope with this, you too may have to change your marketing strategies.

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