Evaluating different generations and demographics can be extremely difficult. Part of understanding our behaviours and how the world works depends on trying to have a grasp on these very things.
In the agriculture sector, this is no different. We are constantly evaluating how behaviours and personalities impact sales, consumption, and more. Today’s focus however, is on input suppliers, and how the farmer-supplier relationship has evolved over the years.
When considering a producer’s relationship with their supplier, there are qualitative measures that some people put high up on their list — such as loyalty, trust, service, and timeliness of delivery — while others focus more on the financial measures such as the transaction itself. Is this different between generations, or does it strictly rely on the things you value?
Justin Funk of Agri Studies says we definitely know there are differences in how the generations view purchasing — and this is evolving.
“We’ve seen shifting from more of a friendly relationship to more of a business relationship. When you look at a certain criteria that is being used, one thing that we’ve observed is that the younger generation — although they might appear to be more price-focused [and] are to a degree, but not to the expense of convenience and value-added services that come from the supplier. So I think it more really depends on the individual, and it’s one of those things that we are finding hard to tie back to demographics,” he says.
Funk adds that in his research, one of the things they’ve found is that price and cost seem to be elevated to the top of the list of challenges that sales reps have, as it is often one of the first things that is brought up. Does that correlate to generational shift, or simply changing times? Funk and his team are still working on it.
“I do know that to get something, you should be prepared to give something up,” he says. “When we’re buying something, we’re not just buying a bag of seed, or a jug of chemical, or a tonne of fertilizer. There’s more that goes into that package — and some people simply are going to value different elements of that package more than others.”