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BLACKSHEEP STRATEGIES RELEASES STUDY EXAMINING TECHNOLOGY'S IMPACT ON FARM MEDIA CONSUMPTION
Source: Blacksheep Strategy news release

Blacksheep Strategy has just released their latest study in the FarmShift series. FarmShift: Media Mix focuses on how technology is changing farmers' media consumption, and addresses the question: what is the right media mix to most effectively reach western Canadian farmers?

A total of 43 media, information sources and activities were investigated, covering print, direct mail, TV, radio, out-of-home, dealer-related activities, and various forms of electronic media, including those that can be accessed by mobile devices. The study measures farmers' frequency of use and time spent using each of the various types of media, examines their trends in use, and captures their preferred media for various product categories.

"This is the first study we are aware of that quantifies western Canadian farmers' exposure to media in such a holistic way - looking at their day-to-day activities such as driving, meeting with suppliers, and time spent with traditional media such as radio, print and TV, plus delving into their use of electronic media - from texting to email, to web-browsing, to online news, to webinars, podcasts, discussion forums, blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, mobile apps and so on," commented Sharon Barker, Blacksheep's Director of Research.

The results of the study illustrate that farmers' appetite for information is growing, and they want to receive or have access to information in many ways. While there are tendencies for certain segments to prefer traditional or electronic media, the convenience of a combination of ways of accessing information seems to be what farmers are looking for. The research confirms that a mix of both traditional and electronic media is needed to effectively reach farmers today. With respect to electronic media, it is worth noting that only some forms are being widely used, while others (e.g. social media) are not highly prevalent. Twitter, for example, is used by less than 15% of the farmers surveyed.

"The appropriate balance and the right mix really should also take into account farmers' preferences for how they want the information. For categories like seed, farmers' preferences are skewed to traditional media, while accessing grain prices is more of an electronic play," added Barker. "Agricultural organizations can use this research to fine-tune their existing media mix, by taking into account how often farmers are using each type of media, how much time they spend with each type of media, as well as farmers' preferences."

The study also posed a direct question to farmers regarding what they think is the most appropriate mix of traditional versus electronic media that would have the greatest chance of reaching them today (traditional media was defined as print, radio, brochures, mail, while electronic media was defined as websites, webinars, mobile apps, etc.). They were also asked what the right mix would be in five years.

Interestingly, farmers see the right mix for today being skewed slightly more towards traditional media - a balance of 55/45 between traditional media and electronic media. Looking ahead five years, they see a heavier weighting towards electronic media - a balance of approximately 40/60 between traditional and electronic. Farmers' views were consistent across each of the three prairie provinces and among farms of different sizes. For the right mix today, older farmers tended to indicate a heavier weighting towards traditional media than did their younger counterparts. However, when looking ahead five years, both younger and older farmers had similar views on what that mix should be.

The study entailed an online survey of 400 prairie farmers with at least 2,000 acres, conducted in July and August 2012. A sample of 400 is considered accurate within +/- 4.8% at the 95% confidence level.

FarmShift is Blacksheep Strategy's ongoing series of farmer market research studies designed to explore fundamental shifts in farmers' practices, needs and expectations (visit FarmShift.com to see the full line-up of studies available).

To view the prospectus, go to http://www.farmshift.com/pdfs/FarmShift-Media_Mix-Prospectus.pdf

To purchase a copy of the report, e-mail info@blacksheepstrategy.com


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