The type of economy we live is aptly referred to as the market economy because no matter how many other factors you introduce to a commercial process, the market will always be the final adjudicator. While other factors are critical to economic endeavor, it is the market that provides the motive for all activities. The marketing function is especially critical in allowing new farmers into the main stream, for their success and sustainability will be determined more by their equitable participation in markets rather than by their increasing competence in production. The marketing of agricultural produce is regarded as unique and deserving of specialized attention due to the perishability and bulkiness of the products involved.
Handling these changing situations with new presentation strategies across the modern agricultural landscape is Agro Mavens, a knowledge marketing agency for global agriculture based out of London, UK. The mavens use their in-depth knowledge and understanding of global agricultural systems and farmers’ behavior to create strategic marketing programmes for their clients – at the national, regional and global level, as required.
The Mentor of the Mavens
With nearly 20 years of experience as an agricultural communications strategist, Adrian Bell, Founder of Agro Mavens, had started-off by securing his first agency role at a leading British agricultural marketing and public relations company in 1998. After working with several clients at several different agencies, Adrian took his entrepreneurial plunge in 2007 by co-founding a specialist agricultural PR agency, Whisper.pr. Adrian has steadily added to his knowledge of numerous foreign agricultural markets, systems and practices, with visits to more than 30 countries across six continents.
In 2011, he was elected chairman of the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists. As the chairman, he was also Britain’s representative for the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ), an organization dedicated to improving the flow and quality of information to farmers worldwide. Adrian believes that agriculture is the most exciting and important industry in the history of mankind. No other industry reaches everyone on the planet in the way agriculture does.
While exploring the agricultural world, Adrian spotted a gap in the market: the ability to provide strategic communications consultancy and services to companies and organizations with multi-country agricultural interests. He says, “There are plenty of international PR agencies. But it’s rare to find one that truly understands agriculture. Few possess the technical knowledge to get involved with a new product from development stage and build a compelling pitch for it, one that can inform and enlighten farmers, or educate and change perceptions.”
So, ten years after the launch of Whisper, Adrian exited Whisper and went on to establish Agro Mavens in 2016. The company’s unique global service provides country-specific strategic advice and marketing communications activities around the world.
Knowledge Marketing for Global Agriculture
As we reflect on our appreciation for food and what it stands for—community, culture, and a centerpiece of society—we recognize how important food is. We are starting to understand how evolving technology in agriculture over the years has enabled the phenomenal growth we’ve seen recently and that technology will continue to enable the world’s future growth. There is a common but erroneous perception that agriculture has moved from a regulated to a deregulated system. Although we need regulations to ensure fair and proper conduct of participants within the industry; in reality, the change has been from a state regulated to a market or self-regulated system. This is why good communication is important, particularly in developing countries where access to quality information can be problematic. By increasing the flow and quality of that information to farmers around the world, we build a more efficient and effective world agriculture.
Moreover, effective marketing of agricultural products is dependent on the creation of conducive circumstances as well as the provision of resources and services. Every client has different needs and requirements which mean different services appeal to different clients.
Adrian shares his experiences by mentioning about some challenging projects. Agro Mavens’ recent project involved a new crop protection product. They worked with the client through the development phase, positioning it in the market and developing the product’s branding and identity. They also wrote, designed, and printed the support documents and product brochures. With access to the raw technical material from the client, Adrian and his team established and agreed the key messages, then turned it into something that would appeal to, and be understood by, farmers and their advisers. They brought their international experience to the fore, because the client needed this brochure to be available in more than a dozen different markets. And while it’s relatively simple – if a challenge to organize – to translate and so on, still there are cultural and technical differences between markets.
Agro Mavens’ international ability is their USP. Specialist agricultural PR agencies are rare in themselves, but their experience across six continents makes them outwardly competent.
It’s been a successful 18 months since Agro Mavens started, persistently growing with an expanding client list. The agriculture business is vibrant and expeditiously growing in many parts of the world, so focusing on some of those rapid-growth areas is something to look at more closely. Agro Mavens aims to continually improve their service provisions by identifying new and better ways of helping the clients get their messages out to their audiences.
The industrialists and the mavens speak the same language. A client can approach Agro Mavens, irrespective of what their product or service is – Agtech, Machinery, Crop Protection, Animal Health, etc – and not only do the mavens understand them, but they also understand their markets and their audiences. In the agtech sector especially, where new entrants often have a great MVP but, having come through the tech industry route aren’t so familiar with agricultural terms and farmers’ behavior and pain points, which proves to be a real advantage and scores well with investors.