Think Differently

When we see those two words, “think differently” in the context of marketing, we probably gravitate to tactics instead of strategies. After all, changes in technology have given us more ways to reach out to our customers and prospects to capture their attention, to educate them. But let’s think strategically different instead.

How well do you know your customer? Do you know why they’re your customer? Do you know how they make decisions and how they like to learn and who influences them and what motivates them? Do you know what kind of spaghetti sauce they like?

That last question is a little out of left field, but I bring it up because it reminds me of this TED Talk by Malcolm Gladwell.

I think creative ideas often come from digging into different topics, so why not take ag marketing into spaghetti sauce for a little while? Essentially the talk tracks back to consumer research around soda and spaghetti sauce, and even coffee. It used to be that companies in the food industry would look for the best way to make something. They would do consumer research to try and find that “best way” and then they would market the product that got the most votes.

The light bulb went on when a researcher discovered that different people have different tastes, and by playing to those tastes with different options, we have the ability to actually sell more product.

So how does that affect us? Think about how you communicate with customers and prospects. Do you try a couple of different ways and then only use the top vote getter, or do you use multi-channel marketing? Think about how you teach something that’s required in order for people to understand the value of your product or how to use it. Do you teach it one way, or do you teach through different channels based on the people you’re trying to train?

In agriculture, as we shift generationally, it’s easier to see the need for the kind of “horizontal segmentation” that Gladwell talks about in the video. It’s about knowing your target and collecting information on them – both by directly asking them and by observing how they respond or engage the best – because, as he notes, people don’t always know what they want.

Diversity may be a buzz word that you’ve heard from the HR department in your company, but it’s also an important one to think about as you figure out the opportunity in your market. So much of marketing is about becoming a student. And so much advantage in marketing comes from thinking differently.

News & Resources