It’s possible to project what customers are likely to be in business in 20 years. That’s the result of extensive research done by strategic intelligence firm Aimpoint Research.
“If you can answer who are the farmers of the future, you will know how to charge forward with your business based on what that customer will require of you over time,” says Brett Sciotto, CEO, Aimpoint Research.
The firm kicked off its Farmer Of The Future research in April 2018, which included interviewing farmers and ranchers. The capstone to the research was designing a psychographic study to understand the personalities in the industry.
“There are lots of ways to segment customers. We focused on the psychographic to deeply understand who the farmers are,” he explains. This answers questions such as:
- How do they make decisions?
- How do they think about agriculture?
- How do they view the world?
- How do they approach their businesses?
- Who do they rely on?
The Aimpoint team distilled five personalities of farmers: independent elites, enterprising business builders, classic practitioners, self-reliant traditionals and leveraged lifestylers.
“In every one of these segments, there are large-scale farmers and smaller-scale farmers, and there are older farmers and younger farmers,” Sciotto says. “There’s more to a farmer’s success than their size. Their history, mentality, and willingness to adopt drive their approach to business.”
So who will be your 2040 farmer-customers?
Sciotto says predicting the future is an art and a science, but the top takeaway is that today’s tremendous pressures felt in agriculture will continue during the next 20 years. That will lead to two groups as the future of farming: the independent elites and enterprising business builders.
“These farmers have the qualities and characteristics to allow them to navigate to a successful position in 2040,” Sciotto says. “They have the business IQ and adaptability. They are innovators and are collaborative.”
Given the other categories are decreasing, you can assess how you serve them accordingly.
What This Means For Your Business
“We have to get ahead in our thinking. Otherwise, we will find ourselves further behind,” he says. “We need transformative leaders in ag today. Businesses should explore how to evolve and continue to be relevant to who will be the farmer of the future.”
Sciotto shares four actions will be table stakes in the future: find new ways to serve the value chain, innovate, gain efficiencies and integrate new standards.
Although you can’t directly shift a farmer from one category to another, as a trusted adviser, you can set them up for success.
“You can coach farmers and provide the business tools and services they need to adopt,” Sciotto says. “There are clear lessons you can share. Their implementation is up to them—but you can make them available.”
Red Alert For Everyone
Although the top farmers demonstrate a strong springboard for the future, many are lacking a key part—a succession plan.
“We should all be concerned about the lack of succession planning. Even for independent elites, only 51% have a succession plan,” Sciotto says. “This planning is critical to their business and to those who serve farmers.”
How To Shore Up Your Business
At the 2020 Ag Retailers Association Virtual Conference, The Scoop and Aimpoint Research will present proprietary research completed earlier this fall. They will detail useful insights into the Farmer Of The Future, how COVID-19 has changed the ag retail industry and how you can harness this knowledge for a successful blueprint for the future. Register at ARAdc.org/conference