Early farmer insights can accelerate product adoption

Ask a Farmer

Accelerating product adoption comes down to understanding farmers. A simple enough concept, but one often overshadowed by great innovation.  

Won’t great products sell themselves? Unfortunately, no. Because without farmer insight – feedback from farmers on what they need, and how and when they need it – farmers may not see your product as THE solution.  

We have worked with clients with tremendous, innovative products. Our goal is to help them market their solutions effectively, but sometimes that means coming to terms with some tough-to-swallow insights from farmers.  

We regularly solicit the input of our network of more than 1,500 farmers and stakeholders on up-and-coming innovations, equipment solutions, and their operational management practices. Their feedback is invaluable and has driven clients’ business decisions in a direction that supports long-term, sustainable commercial success for their product.   

Here’s a scenario: A client came to us wanting to understand how to market their product to farmers with little to no brand recognition or awareness. We surveyed our network and conducted one-on-one interviews with farmers in the target market area and of their target customer profile. The farmers shared that the product would indeed solve a problem they faced on their farms. And they wanted it. But before they were ready to invest, most of the farmers we surveyed and visited needed questions about the company’s approach to service and support answered 

“Who is coming to my farm to ensure I don’t have any trouble using the technology for the first time?”  

“What support can the company provide in case I have questions or face challenges using the product? 

Until the client heard farmer feedback, service and support were not a priority of the company’s launch planning.   

This company thought they had a market-ready product, but in truth, the market was not ready for their product 

In fact, without farmer feedback, how do companies even know if farmers perceive they have the problem the product solves?  

Talking to one, two or five farmers is not enough. We have had clients come to us for farmer insight after launching a product that won’t sell. What they learned is that before launching the product, they needed feedback from more than a handful of farmers.  

We often see big decisions made after a high-level leader called a few buddies who farm back home to see what they thought and acted on their feedback 

The thing is, no two farms or farmers are alike. Farmers who share a fenceline don’t operate the same way, let alone farmers from different regions of the country. It’s important to understand the perceptions of farmers from diverse backgrounds, geographies, size of operation and approach to innovation. Only then do you have a full grasp of the market and the barriers and/or opportunities to drive adoption. 

IN10T’s network of farmers is extensive and diverse. IN10T has relationships with farmers across the US, Canada and ArgentinaFT network who raise multiple crops in all kinds of growing conditions, implement a diversity of management practices, and farm across many states and regions of the countries mentioned 

The best relationships are built on trust. Because IN10T is unbiased, farmers who engage with our network know we are not selling them something. And they are paid for their honest opinion and feedback, so they are eager to provide it. Farmers have an innate desire to solve problems and be a part of the solution. So why not let them?  

It’s never too early in the product development lifecycle to test a hypothesis or concept. The earlier the better so you can apply these learnings to bring to market a product that has the right fit among the right audience. Is there something you want to know to accelerate your product’s adoption? Reach out to us, and we’ll ask farmers.  

This is the first in a three-part blog series on the power of insights.