The ‘Progressive Farmer’: The Target Audience Your Agribusiness Brand Knows Nothing About

For as long as marketeers have been writing campaign briefs within the agribusiness sector, one phrase has repeated time and again, according to a recent article by Kynetec at AgriBusiness Global. When teams are asked “who do you want to target your product at? Who do you want to communicate with?” the answer is usually “progressive farmers.”

‘Progressive farmers’ is a catch-all phrase for growers who are prepared to spend money and are actively engaging with ag media. On paper, progressives are the ideal target for anything from fungicide to foot rot vaccines. But when the marketing strategist digs deeper and asks for more detail about the progressive audience to try and find further insight on which to base a campaign, detail can be light.


Without further insight on personality traits and drivers, it is difficult to reach, engage, nurture, and activate a target farmer. Perhaps this is why, when a reader flicks though an agribusiness magazine, many of the adverts and messages are incredibly similar. Are all marketing teams trying to talk to ‘progressive farmers’ with little data behind their campaigns? Is there insight out there that teams can plug into to activate different types of farmers? And what does progressive mean anyway?

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Does a progressive famer exist?

Arguably, all farmers are progressive. Every farmer wants to improve their bottom line, reduce workload, increase quality and quantity of whatever they happen to grow. From an 80-year-old third generation on a mixed farm in the UK, to a 25-year-old new entrant managing tens of thousands of hectares with smart farming technologies in Australia, there is a commonality of desire to do well despite the challenges of weather, price and time.

What farmers are less likely to do is to self-reflect on their motivations for their own behavior. Not in terms of practical, external behaviors on the farm – we know that they know they need to prepare seed beds meticulously, or that lameness in cows will directly impact milk yield – but the subconscious patterns and preferences that display externally as decision-making behaviors. It is these subconscious patterns that your marketing team want to understand, because farmers already know more than you ever will about how to get the best out of their own ground. Marketing teams therefore should not be advising on the practicalities of farming to capture attention, that level of education can come later, but to seize interest quickly by appealing to the subconscious motivations and personality of the farmer to shape decision making.

Farmers are people, and people have personalities

Personality profiling is long established. From Hippocrates in 400 BC, to Jung in 1921 and even modern-day TED Talks, we’ve been able to define personality types in remarkably similar ways that have hardly changed over thousands of years. And yes, humans really are that easy to figure out. We all have characteristics, preferences, and needs and we all lead with one of four styles.

Read more at AgriBusiness Global.