3 min read

I hate marketing!

I hate marketing!
Oatly marketing campaign featuring real customer comments.

Not for what marketing does, but for what marketing has become.

Marketing these days is so full of analysis, graphs, spreadsheets and layers of people that it no longer creates new or strong ideas. We have a sea of lazy marketing agencies who focus too heavily on tactics and the medium whilst ignoring the creative and charging astronomical sums for the pleasure.

And marketers have done this to be safe. Safely predict what a new idea will do. Safely predict where money should be spent. Safely cover someone's arse when their ideas fail.

But marketing is not safe. Nothing new or bold ever is.

Industry failings

One of the biggest failing I see in agriculture today is the lack of proper marketing and brand building around the produce that we make in this country. We are becoming more commoditised than ever and we're losing out in a global market.

Because there will always be demand for food, many farmers and producers don't feel the need to market or brand their produce. Consequently, most feel like they are underqualified and don't know where to start.

I look at pasta coming out of Italy during the 80's. A commodity until some clever bugger decided to brand it up nice, market it properly and all of a sudden we're paying double the price for the same product.

Branding at work. Would you honestly be able to tell the difference?

Most people fail to realise that marketing and branding done properly can make a difference. It can make people choose one product over another and more importantly, it can make people pay more.

I see British produce and British farming no differently.

Who's job is it anyway?

Back in the day, most sectors of agriculture had their own marketing body - the milk marketing board for example - who's job it was to market their products on behalf of members. And they did a pretty good job of it.

Milk Marketing Board advert for semi-skimmed milk featuring Kate Moss

Throughout the 90's most of these marketing boards were disbanded and the responsibility was passed to the producers and retailers who, as we know, have done absolutely nothing to help the cause. Their main focus is on price rather than shouting about the attributes or quality of the produce.

Today, industry bodies such as the NFU, AHDB and QMS have, as part of their remit, an obligation to promote the industry on behalf of farmers. However, as I found out through a recent poll on TikTok, the vast majority (read 92%) of people feel as though they aren't doing enough and are failing in their duty.

Why, because they're not taking risks. It's too safe and most of the messaging we see today blends in to the mediocrity of modern day marketing.

Your sheep, pigs and cows might stand out but your marketing certainly doesn't. AHDB "we eat balanced" marketing campaign

So what to do about it?

I think we all need to do our bit to promote the industry and British produce. But we also need to realise that the current ways of thinking aren't making the difference we want or need them to make.

To capture people attention, we need to take risks and think differently. We need to change our approach to promoting the industry. Take inspiration from outwith and look at brands or companies in our lives that are having success. What are they doing to achieve this and how can we replicate their success?

In the words of Steve Jobs; think different.

Easier said than done but the riskiest thing you can do is play it safe.