I will admit that on first drive by the title of my article may seem a little far fetched. I mean what could a farmer possibly teach a marketer?

But as anyone who knows me knows that I am one who very much enjoys juxtaposing two or more seemingly different topics, subjects, etc. and coming away with some words of wisdom, advice and insight that relates to marketers and advertisers.

For example, not long ago I took three distinctly different topics and turned them into: What Billy Joel, C-Level Execs & Social Media Have In Common. Hey don’t laugh, you’d be amazed at what The Piano Man has in common with C-Suiters and social media.

Ok, so now that you know some of my methods of madness, as it were – I want to share with you some of the things a farmer can teach a marketer, in particular when it comes to the use of data.

Data, specifically Big Data, is something I have written about before: Forget About Big Data, Some Marketers Don’t Even Collect Name And Address and also How To Rein In The Riches Of Big Data.

So when I heard about a company that is using artificial intelligence, data scraping, and database calculations as a means to predict what seed varieties a farmer should plant to get the maximum yield from their exact plot of ground, my mind immediately started to ponder how this could be applied to marketers.

I mean this is pretty cool, stuff isn’t it? Talk about modern technology. I’m sure some purists out there will scoff at using this method as opposed to doing it the old-fashioned way, which I presume meant planting a seed and hoping for the best?

I don’t know, I’m not a farmer. But I have seen episodes of Green Acres, if that counts.

What I am is a marketing and advertising junkie and as such wanted to learn more about this unique use of data as a means to “plant the right seed.”

So I reached out to David Bitter, the CEO of CropFax, the company behind this revolutionary way to farm via the use of data, and asked him some pointed questions to see how he thinks this could be applied to marketers.

Q: You analyze and pore over mountains of data to help farmers plant the right seed. Why is the data so important?

A: In any segment of the market, data is the key to understanding customer attributes and to formulate a custom value proposition for that customer.  Gone are the days of using broad demographic generalizations to describe the needs of the consumer.  Relevant data specific to an individual or small group of consumer’s needs, buying patterns and general behaviors paint an ever improving individual marketing profile.  These types of refinements in understanding customer demographics allow the seller to find the absolute best fit in terms of creating a value proposition, and the best methods for approaching in presenting that value proposition.

Q: What can a marketer learn from the process you use to help farmers which can help them “plant the right seed?”

A: In effect, the CropFax system presents the best specific hybrid seed information to fit the unique demographics of a grower.  A good marketer will also utilize demographic intelligence to fit the right message to the right customer.  Similar to CropFax, a demographic savvy marketer will use all possible data to understand the specific needs of a customer in a given demographic profile, apply analytic effort to the right layers of data to create the highest value proposition for that customer.  This type of marketing approach focuses the best value proposition to a given customer using recent customer intelligence describing individual needs and behaviors. Creating the right measurement system to evaluate the effectiveness of the custom tailored marketing approach allows the overall process to be continually refined.

Q: Is it possible to have too much data and if so how can you know if you have too much?

A: There can never be too much data providing it is still relevant to the consumer.  Methodologies to screen data – both incoming and legacy to find inconsistencies and conflicts are crucial to maintaining an accurate customer profile.  Methods to systematically identify and discard inaccurate data are critical to improving the consumer database.  It should be expected that consumer preferences and behaviors will change over time.  Methodologies to sense movement in consumer preference allow the marketer to refine the value proposition offering and approach to the customer.

In Closing…

Now I don’t know about you but I think David is spot on in his thoughts on how data plays such a key role in marketing. Being from the creative side of the aisle, I of course think the copy/design/concept plays a major role in ultimate success but I am also smart enough to realize that the best creative in the world won’t do anything if it’s not targeted to the right people. And the way to ensure that is by utilizing the data to its fullest.

Your thoughts please.

Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review, Steve Olenski is a freelance copywriter/blogger/brand strategist currently looking for full-time work. He has worked on some of the biggest brands in the world and has over 20 years experience in advertising and marketing. He lives in Philly and can be reached via emailTwitterLinkedIn or his website.