Growth Points: Thick data: First understand the grower

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

Videographers juggle multiple concerns as they record people, but focus is among the most important.

Eyes are key. To assure focus, a camera operator will zoom in on the eyes—to gain a sharp image.

It’s a great metaphor for crop input retailers and consultants looking to expand their precision ag services. Focus on the customer. Not only their eyes, but their heart and mind as well. As you pull back to see their whole operation, you are likely to remain in focus. Focusing on an individual’s goals and aspirations helps you and your team organize yourselves around common needs.

This is the essence of “consultative” selling or selling “solutions.” Customizing a solution is also the essence of precision agriculture.

Many in agribusiness are still on a journey from being “order-takers” to being “solution-providers.” Precision agriculture, with its integration of products and services, can speed this journey. But for some on your team, the road may have more potholes than a Chicago street after a hard winter.

“Let’s just sell more stuff,” is still the temptation. It’s easier to “just sell” fertilizer, (or crop protection or seed) than to integrate all of these, and more, into a thoughtful, whole-farm solution. That term “thoughtful” can require active listening and consultative selling. Stephen Covey fans will remember it as Habit Five: “Seek first to understand, then be understood.”

With precision agriculture being somewhat complex and data driven, it shouldn’t surprise us that we may let all the “big data” from yield maps, field trials and scouting crowd out real objectives of real growers. But as a trusted advisor, much of your value comes from the deep knowledge you have of individual growers and their mission.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal speaks to the importance of something termed “thick data,” in this era of coping with “big data.” In other words, you can’t learn everything you need to know about customers from crunching numbers and using Survey Monkey. You need to know real customers up close. Gasp!

“Successful companies … work to understand the emotional, even visceral context in which people encounter their product or service, and they are able to adapt when circumstances change,” wrote the authors, Christian Madsbjerg and Mikkel Rasmussen. “They are able to use what we like to call thick data.”

Thick data may be a good term to describe the value of your precision ag offering at the local level versus the “big data” that may be available to them from afar. Thick data is the comprehensive, boots-on-the-ground knowledge of the farmer’s operation that allows you to customize your services around their unique needs and aspirations.

What kinds of things might constitute “thick data” when it comes to knowing growers? You may already think you know the answer for each of your growers, but more time spent asking them questions could validate that sense, or prove it wrong.

Is lowering cost really the farmer’s most important driver? Or is it the desire to squeeze every possible bushel out of every possible zone in every possible field? Conservation of soil, water, fuel or time is the most important aspect of each crop season for some growers and they are willing to sacrifice some profitability for these less obvious objectives. For others, environmental stewardship that avoids any possible risk of increased scrutiny is key.

In any case, zooming in for a close-up understanding of the thick data—and keeping your eye on the ball of grower-defined success—is likely to make your own business more sustainable as well.


Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...


Comments (0) Leave a comment 

Name
e-Mail (required)
Location

Comment:

characters left


High Capacity Roller Belt Conveyors

These high capacity units feature a lagged drive roller, troughing idlers, rubber disc return rollers, and an automatic belt tensioning ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form