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Good communication is important and is becoming increasingly important for the agricultural sector. The information within high-tech agriculture is becoming increasingly complex. The sector is under the magnifying glass of society. What is going on? What are the trends and developments? And how does it work? We share our findings and experiences.

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Omnibus survey: sound market research on a small budget

16-8-2019

What is the opinion of your agricultural target group on your brand, product or service? And what is it based on? Independent market research forms a valuable basis for your communication strategy. Good research by an external party often requires considerable investment. How can you chart your position on a relatively small budget? One of the possibilities is to participate in an omnibus survey.

The agricultural sector consists of many target groups, such as veterinary practices, a wide range of small- and large-scale livestock producers and their advisors. In-depth research is necessary to get a reliable picture of your market and an outcome that you can use. Market research within these target groups is a specialized skill. Outsourcing market research can be costly, but in many cases the ability to measure your market position warrants this investment. In addition to an objective picture of what motivates your customers, it can often also provide surprising new angles for your communication strategy. This enables you to focus your communication and to reach your target group more effectively.

Participating in an omnibus survey
If you want to know what current and potential customers think of you, you can start by questioning your customers. What are their reasons for being your customer? The disadvantage is that you are fishing in your own pond. Customers who don't feel at home have dropped out or passed you by anyway. However, their opinion about you offers a wealth of information. You should therefore zoom out further than your current customer base. This can be done through an online or telephone survey among a representative sample of your target group. An extensive survey provides valuable information, but that is also time-consuming and expensive and therefore only of interest for larger target groups. If you want to do market research for smaller target groups, joining an omnibus survey is practical and affordable. For instance, Geelen Consultancy in Wageningen carries out several omnibus surveys in the agricultural sector every year. These surveys combine questions from several participating companies in one online questionnaire. In addition to questions directed at the individual client, the survey often contains a number of general subjects relating to the market and/or the theme. If you are thinking about participating in such a study, please consider the following advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages of an omnibus survey:

  • Lower costs, because all participants in the research contribute.
  • In addition to insight into your own position, you will also gain insight into market trends and developments.
  • This survey uses an up-to-date and representative address file. The respondents are both customers and non-customers.

Disadvantages of an omnibus survey:

  • The number of questions you can ask is limited, as is the possibility to ask further questions. Get advice about the questionnaire and your options.
  • You cannot control the period/time at which the survey takes place.
  • You have no insight into the questions asked by your peers. These can have an impact.

Conducting surveys is a specialized skill
The success of an omnibus survey depends on a number of factors. Jan Geelen of Geelen Consultancy explains: "Most important is that the questionnaire is put together by an expert. The questions must be specific and phrased correctly. If necessary, I test the questionnaire by running it by my extensive and knowledgeable network in Wageningen. The second important element is the availability of an extensive and up-to-date database of agricultural addresses that is GDPR-proof. The response stands or falls with the invitation. This must be carefully worded and sent out to the right target group."

Converting output into targeted communication
After completion of the omnibus survey, you receive an analysis of the results. Most of the time the output from your own questions and the general questions have already been collated. You will not be able to see the information from your colleagues, nor will they see your results. You gain insight into your position in the market, and you can use the output for well-targeted communication. For instance, the launch campaign for the rumen-protected fat supplement Megalac was based on market research. Are you thinking about doing market research? AgriCommunicatie cooperates with various research agencies and will gladly provide you with advice. At the end of the survey, we translate the results into a powerful strategy and targeted communication. This way market research becomes a valuable investment.

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