Mitch Merz of family-owned Merz Farm Equipment, Inc. faces an interesting marketing challenge in his Nebraska farm dealership. Because farming is usually an inter-generational pursuit, he says:
“We have to meet the needs of Grandpa, son and grandson— our marketing needs to work for a 70-year-old or a 20-year-old. We’ve also found that farming has become more specialized, and that crop farmers in particular do a ton of online research and shop for the best deals. Recognizing that most of our customers still have Grandpa calling the shots, as well as son and grandson, I built our website to focus on the divergent needs of the 70 year old and the 20 year old.”
For the older generation, Merz conducted research to make the website user-friendly and offer valuable content. For accessibility, the site works especially well on tablets like the iPad. And the older customers appreciate the Links page, AccuWeather alerts and AGCO blog widget that they can use as a regular resource.
He goes on to explain:
“We also found that the older generation of farmers didn’t want to interact on Facebook (i.e., have their own Facebook pages), and yet it is helpful for them to be able to see the videos and content found on our Facebook page. So we put the Facebook page right on the homepage, and that way the farmer can see what he wants to see the way he wants to see it. He doesn’t have to join Facebook to see the content.”
Younger generations appreciate the interactive aspects of the Merz website, such as tools to build their own machine or listings of available farm machinery. The site also has a youthful look and feel, along with featuring inter-generational photographs. Of course younger farmers also interact with Merz Farm Equipment on Facebook.
As web marketing grew more important for more of their customer base, Merz Farm Equipment paid attention to their changing needs, while still meeting the needs of the just-as-important older generation. This small business’s nimble approach shows the flexibility small businesses enjoy, especially when they take the time to listen to their customers.