Updated: January 16, 2023
The agribusiness sector is undergoing a seismic environmental shift. Climate changes. Declining soil conditions. Diminishing water supply. Growing world population. These challenges impact how food is grown, produced and sold now and into the foreseeable future.
Additional pressure to build sustainability into agriculture includes:
- Rising consumer focus on clean-label foods and meat-alternatives
- Demands by investors, government and partners to meet ESG (environment, social, governance) initiatives
- Increasing food production to feed the world
These demands cut right to the heart of the 21st-century reality in which we all live: green issues are now part of our existence. As a result, businesses industry-wide are finding ways to reduce their carbon footprint. These are exciting times for agribusiness.
According to Semios CEO Michael Gilbert, “agriculture is fast evolving from a $3 trillion ESG liability to a $3 trillion ESG asset.” In fact, agribusiness now leads environmental sustainability out of operational necessity. The challenge to improve growing conditions and production has stimulated agriculture technologies. You can now improve inputs, reduce costs, optimize resources and increase sustainability – at scale. Crunchbase reports that 2021 was a record year for agtech, with nearly $5 billion invested in VC-backed startups.
Source: Crunchbase News
Below we look at effective marketing strategies agribusinesses can use to address these trends and meet client expectations.
Before developing specific marketing strategies you’ll first want to define your campaign goals, regardless of whether they’re tied to your sustainability goals.
Is your aim to increase brand awareness and authority? Perhaps you’d like to educate the marketplace on your new products, services, and/or expertise.
The bottom line is that you’ll earn the best marketing results when you tailor your strategy to meet your primary goal. If you invest time and money in marketing without a clear goal in sight, it becomes a case of the tail wagging the dog.
Craft campaigns relevant to these green times
Once you have the overall goal of your campaign in mind, it’s time to think about tactics. Know that the most effective ad campaigns showcase a brand’s ability to stay relevant even as trends shift and times change. That brings us to green issues.
Health consciousness, ethics and environmental awareness have resulted in increased consumer consumption of plant-based proteins, and it isn’t some fleeting new-age trend, either. According to Research and Markets, global meat substitutes are expected to reach $4 billion by 2027, a CAGR of 13.5%, in terms of value.
Source: Research and Markets
You need only look at the advertising campaigns of major food and beverage brands to realize that this is a tactical measure worth investing in now. Burger King, Subway, Denny’s, TGI Fridays, and White Castle now advertise plant-based protein meals they’ve added to their menus. The point of campaign tactics like these is to establish your company as one that takes sustainability seriously. This brings us to our next topic, developing and promoting your ESG strategy.
Develop and promote your ESG strategy
There are no two ways about it, agriculture has held a long-standing bad reputation for negatively impacting the environment. The turning of the tables presents strong opportunities to market your sustainable practices. Once you’ve developed your ESG strategy and established your goals, it’s time to recraft your brand message around your values to tell your story. To communicate your sustainability approach, use messaging that:
- Identifies your sustainability challenges and the proactive approach you’ll take to solve them
- Explains why your sustainability goals matter for your stakeholders
- Uses actionable measurements and ESG data to track your progress
- Is transparent, accurate and authentic about your results and able to back up all claims with data
After you develop your ESG story, be sure to promote it.
- Post your actionable goals and achievements on social media.
- Publish your ESG goals on your website, including any certifications and achievements.
- Publish press releases to announce partnerships that facilitate your sustainability goals.
- If you have a blog, share your process, obstacles and triumphs.
- Create joint briefs that explain the challenges your partnerships solve for your clients and how you help each other – and your clients – reduce your carbon footprint.
Demonstrate your pro-sustainability approach
Branding that demonstrates your agribusiness as an environmentally friendly company is a must these days. If you’re serious about crafting messages that resonate with today’s customers, tout your ESG strategy. Toot your horn when you reach a green milestone.
Tell your audience if your brand produces food products with as few inputs as possible. Explain how you optimize yield while lowering your environmental impact. Let your customers know if you partner with ethical animal farmers or fair-trade producers.
Too Good to Go, an eco-friendly marketplace for surplus food, is an excellent example of a brand built on sustainability. The company illustrates green business in its mission statement and website messaging. They take their sustainability approach even further with their (green) brand colors and minimalistic website design.
Demonstrating your approach to sustainability is a winning strategy for several reasons. Your efforts preserve and improve the environment in which you do business, thus increasing your business opportunities long into the future. By embracing a green world, you also increase partnership opportunities with brands looking to strengthen their own ESG strategies. And of course, there are financial motivations offered to green agriculture businesses in the form of state incentives and environmental investments.
Measure the results of your green marketing initiatives
While it’s important to track the results of your sustainability initiatives, it’s also crucial to measure your marketing results.
Luckily, when you use digital marketing tactics, it’s easier than ever to track the results of existing campaigns and use this data to improve future campaigns.
You can determine brand authority by your ad reach as well as unique views and impressions. If you’re trying to educate your audience, you can measure the effectiveness of your ads by the number of qualified leads your sales team is receiving based on those ads. And to determine if your campaigns are generating sufficient conversions, look at the total number of leads compared to the total number of conversions based on those leads.
Partner with a B2B ag marketing agency experienced in ESG marketing strategy
The above strategies will help you to craft an effective strategy to promote your sustainability goals and successes. Embracing green initiatives and sharing your story will allow you to brand your operation as sustainable to customers, investors, partners and the environment.
If you need help developing your green messaging, work with an established B2B agency that specializes in marketing for agribusiness. With over 20 years of marketing experience in the agriculture industry, Elevation can help target your unique audience with the right message, across the right channels. We can help you define and craft green campaign strategies, develop and promote your ESG strategy, craft messaging that demonstrates your sustainable approach, and measure your marketing initiatives. Contact us to learn more about how our marketing services can benefit your ag business.