The role of marketing in agri-tech

CHAP’s success is due in no small part to the many talented women on its payroll, including four executive directors and seven (of a total 10) PhDs. But as important as the science is, there is more to a successful agri-tech company than the core scientific talent. Janine Heath is the Strategic Marketing Manager for CHAP, having joined the team in January. After gaining experience within a range of B2B and B2C marketing roles both agricultural and non-agricultural, she has found her niche in taking science and making it more accessible. Here she explains why there’s so much more to marketing than might meet the eye.

I won’t be the first and I won’t be the last to have had my trade (marketing), dumbed down and considered as not business critical. During such conversations, I’ve found myself becoming more and more impassioned, mainly because I take my job seriously, and approach it accordingly.
Historically, marketing has struggled to demonstrate ROI, especially so for more traditional tactics such as print advertising. That being said, times are changing and they are changing fast. With so many ways to measure impact, particularly within digital marketing, I believe it’s our duty to provide the evidence and comprehensive reports to support our work. As much as this is a time-hungry activity, for me, it’s non-negotiable.

Vital toolkit

But let’s take things back a step. As marketers, we provide our colleagues the tools they need to do a ‘good job’. We might not be sealing the deal, but we sculpt the landscape in which sales take place. Whether that’s attracting customers to a highly functional website, delivering an insightful webinar or producing a sales aid with distinct reasons to believe, we are a pivotal link in the conversion chain.
Of course, we can’t do our job without the support of willing colleagues either, but the marketing team drives brand values and equity. It belongs to the whole business, but we drive it and we are the glue.
Another challenge I’ve incurred during my career is the belief that marketers only have a superficial understanding of their product or subject area, particularly when working within my specialism – crop science. This is when I really bang my drum! What could be more exciting than taking something deeply scientific and converting it into a marketing tool that a much wider audience can understand? I live and breathe all things agronomy, helped by the fact my partner also works within crop protection.

Getting the message across

Crop science is cool we just need to make sure that the messaging is right to cut through. Removing technical jargon and making it bite-sized and understandable for whether you’re a scientist, farmer or my next-door neighbour.
Public perception of agriculture and food production could be described as turbulent at best. Because ‘eating’ is something that we all partake in on a daily basis, it’s a highly emotive subject area, and rightfully so. That’s why as marketers, we must get this right.
So marketing within agriculture – it’s a huge job and it’s an important one. It might be a constant flow of highs and lows but I don’t think there’s a better time to be part of it. I, like so many out there, take great pride in delivering the goods for our industry and delivering them strategically.
The ‘fluff’ is long gone.

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Please note, the opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of CHAP.