Overcoming agriculture market research challenges this year

  |   Agriculture, Blog

Agriculture market research always has its own nuances; these respondents require a special approach. Farmers, veterinarians, and agronomists all work 12 hours a day and they rarely have a free minute for an interview.

This year, agriculture specialists have been working incessantly despite the restriction measures introduced in many countries. However, the recruitment and interviewing process has been challenged significantly.

Challenges with online research

The lockdown regime has placed us all into an online reality, which has greatly impacted market research. But agriculture market research is not an easy issue to solve. As a rule, online research in Russia and neighboring countries do not work. This stems from two major factors. 

First, it’s the average age of potential respondents. Many agronomists, mechanics, and feed specialists are over the age of 50. They are used to the more traditional ways of recording data: with paper and a pencil. Many are skeptical of online technologies and mobile apps. It’s difficult to master these technologies, and they may fail or break down while trying to use them. Additionally, some respondents are afraid that their data may be leaked to a third party, which is yet another deterrent. 

Second, respondents spend most of their time in the fields or on production sites. Such areas usually do not have great internet service, so respondents are not able to complete a study online. That is why we always recommend either phone or face-to-face interviews. An example of how we conducted market research using visuals during the pandemic

During the quarantine, we had a study which included demonstration of visuals. Since face-to-face interviews were not possible due to the lockdowns, we programmed live links which could be used only once. A respondent would click the link and then be able to look at the materials provided. Younger people were more willing to take part while older respondents did not wish to use the links.  Typically, these interviews were conducted after the respondents’ work day. During their work day they’re always ensconced with tasks at their production site, meaning they wouldn’t have time to sit down in front of a computer and complete one of our interviews.

How we used official letters to recruit KOLs and government officials

One of the most interesting projects during the lockdown included interviews with KOLs and governmental officials from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan. A realization that we had was that a simple recruitment-by-phone was not going to be sufficient. One should compose an official letter for respective institutions, and they will decide whether or not to give permission for an interview. Moreover, a recruiter usually comes personally, which significantly increases the chances of reaching the respondent. 

This year, the situation was complicated by the lockdowns. Many potential respondents were not at their working places, making them more difficult to reach. 

Nevertheless, the Bazis team kept on working. Our recruiters have not stopped for a single day (while always following the sanitary requirements). Persistence, confidence and the ability to reach an understanding with respondents of such a high level made it possible to complete this project successfully.

Despite COVID-19 issues, agricultural activities never stop. The same is with the market research. The show must go on. And the Bazis team is always ready to find a respondent you need and get valuable insights for your business.