By Michele Linn published February 3, 2011

What Content Marketers Can Learn from the Agricultural Industry

I recently had the pleasure of writing and editing a series of research reports the Content Marketing Institute developed about how various industries and different-sized companies are using content marketing. These reports are based on the research from the B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report from Junta42 and MarketingProfs.

For me, one of the most interesting segments was the agriculture industry. Even if you are not in this industry, there are a number of takeaways that are pertinent to any marketer.

Adoption does not equal effectiveness

When I first starting digging into the data, I noticed that this group has the lowest level of content marketing adoption. 78% of agricultural marketers are using content marketing, which is lower than the 88% adoption across all industries.  My initial inclination was to consider them laggards, but this is far from the case.

Instead, what I discovered was that agricultural marketers often consider the tactics they do use to be more effective in their marketing efforts than their peers. In addition, they also report a higher level of executive buy-in, which is one differentiator of self-defined effective content marketers.

Non-digital tactics are still crucial

Agricultural marketers have a noticeably different content mix than the overall sample of B2B marketers, focusing on non-digital channels. Like the others, they rely on article marketing, but print and in-person events play a key role in their marketing.

More than any other industry, agricultural marketers rely on print media. They are the largest users of both print magazines (69% of agricultural marketers use versus 42% overall) and print newsletters (56% of agricultural marketers use versus 25% overall). And, they find these tactics to be very effective.


As you can see, they consider their use of print magazines to be 27% more effective than their peers. Print newsletters are 20% more effective.

Content marketing is useful for customer retention

As content marketers, we understand the importance of knowing who our audience is. In the B2B space, we talk about using content at all stages of the  buying process, but we don’t often focus on what happens after someone becomes a customer.

The majority of agriculture organizations’ sales revenue (80%) comes from existing customers, which is the highest among all of the industries surveyed. To this end, one of their primary goals for content marketing is customer retention. This report provides a good look at how one group uses content to maintain and extend customer relationships.

One example of agricultural content marketing in action is Green Magazine by John Deere. This monthly magazine is geared towards John Deere enthusiasts (and likely customers), and their editorial covers things such as answers to questions about tractors, a column devoted to those who restore John Deere tractors and tips on tractors.

What other examples of content do you have that is used for customer retention – in agriculture or any other industry?

Author: Michele Linn

Michele Linn is the co-founder and chief strategy officer of Mantis Research, a consultancy focused on helping brands create and amplify original research they can use in their marketing. Before starting Mantis, Michele was head of editorial at Content Marketing Institute, where she led the company's strategic editorial direction, co-developed its annual research studies, wrote hundreds of articles, spoke at industry events and was instrumental in building the platform to 200,000 subscribers. In 2015, she was named one of Folio's Top Women in Media (Corporate Visionary). You can follow her on Twitter at @michelelinn.

Other posts by Michele Linn

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