Market research is a valuable asset for any company. For businesses operating in a highly specified or “niche” market, however, meaningful market research results can be elusive, especially if the researchers conducting it lack an intimate understanding of the market in question. That’s why it’s paramount that niche businesses partner with niche market researchers. At Communications for Research (CFR), for example, we have more than 20 years experience in several niche markets; our understanding of the agricultural industry and its many varied segments (such as pesticides, crops, equipment, turf management, livestock, nutrition and more), in particular, makes us especially equipped to identify and recruit the people best qualified to provide relevant insight for companies in any branch of the ag sector. Farming is a lot more than growing crops, after all! With today’s value-added ventures continuing to change farming practices and expand consumer segments, skilled market researchers can help agricultural companies anticipate demand rather than just address it. Here’s a quick checklist for planning agricultural research studies:
Identify the Problem(s)
The agricultural landscape is rapidly changing. As a result, every ag business should leverage market research into a growth opportunity, whether that’s by sorting out new opportunities, strategically placing new products or actively assessing new (and old) competition. Thus, the first step in any agricultural research study is to accurately pinpoint what needs to be studied! Distribution costs, software and equipment limitations, the role of regional vendors; livestock and veterinary concerns; turf management: these are just a sample of the types of issues that can be investigated and cultivated for tactical advantage.
Choose a Methodology
As with any study, one of the most basic considerations for an agricultural research project is how to get the information you need. Do you want to count or measure data (quantitative design), or do you want to understand behavior (qualitative design)? Neither one is better than the other, and frequently both kinds of studies can strengthen overall results.
Pick Your Respondents
Of course, all research methodologies rely on the integrity of the research respondent(s) — i.e., reliable information only comes from reliable sources. At CFR, we have access to an audience of over one million targeted contacts via a variety of means. Our unique expertise allows us to survey and/or interview qualified individuals at all points along the agriculture supply chain and in specific geographic regions, providing our clients with meaningful feedback, whether objective or subjective by nature.
Finally, there must be a plan for data analysis. Careful thought must be given to how information gleaned from agricultural research will be stored, retrieved, reviewed and ultimately used. Indeed, the success of the project hinges not just on extracting pertinent details, but on applying action to those details that necessarily yields beneficial results.
The logistics of a well-developed agricultural research study are similar to other market research projects. However, an existing awareness of and appreciation for the ag sector enables our market researchers here at Communications for Research (CFR) to fully recognize, probe and appropriately address industry problems, making it more likely that our agricultural business clients will reap meaningful, to wit, actionable, insight with their data collection efforts. Please contact us to learn how we can maximize your business practices, as well as your ROI, with our expertise.
You can find an example of our work, “Agricultural Case Study: How CFR Improves Show Rates,” here.