19th Annual Marketing to the Rural Sector Conference

Adapting and Thriving in the changing rural environment

Event Details


Registration and coffee
Opening remarks from the Chair
Chelsea Millar, Founder & CEO, Grass Roots Media
Examining the global trends and economic policies impacting the rural sector
  • Examining the global megatrends impacting NZ’s agricultural markets
  • Delving into NZ’s competitive advantage in this fast-changing environment
  • Dissecting political trends, including the rise of protectionism and the rural-urban split
  • Exploring emerging agricultural sectors and other opportunities
Nathan Penny, Senior Rural Economist, ASB
Case Study: How BNZ is assisting producers with their business
  • Overview of the concerns of New Zealand’s agriculturalists
    • How we engaged with farmers to understand their concerns for SHIFT HAPPENS
    • Overview of the key findings
    • How we delivered the SHIFT HAPPENS documents to the rural sector (And our 1:1 farmer-led approach)
  • BNZ encourages agribusinesses to understand and embrace the Future of their Agribusiness (Natural capital, technology, mindset)
Dana Muir, Associate Director - Natural Capital, BNZ (Agribusiness)
Telling our story to the world – Team Ag’s reputation
  • How Global Consumers view the agricultural capability from New Zealand
  • What does New Zealand and its marketers need to focus on to gain more trust globally  
  • Tips on telling your story to engage your customer more
Sarah Morgan, Head of Engagement, New Zealand Story
Opportunities in regulation of the rural sector

The rural sector is experiencing its biggest shift in regulation since the removal of subsidies in the 1980s. Hear from a PR adviser to agribusiness on government relations and political issues on what government will require of farmers and growers in the near future, and how their response and attitudes should influence your marketing strategies.

  • The Zero Carbon Act and renewable energy targets
  • Taxes on farm inputs that affect the climate and environment
  • The impact of the M. bovis national plan and responses to other bio-security threats and incursions
Mark Blackham, Director, Blackland PR
Morning break
Farmers’ Panel: Understanding the challenges, priorities, and viewpoint of modern farming

You will have the opportunity to ask your market what they think about the latest issues and learn what you as a marketer can do to help farmers to continue to thrive in changing and challenging conditions. Plus, you will have the opportunity to better understand the current demographics and motivations of the rural market.

  • What challenges farmers are facing?
  • Understanding farmer’s goals and practices around sustainability and environmental impact
  • Transforming farming with technology and innovative strategies – what is working on the farm?
  • Farmers’ opinion on digital vs traditional marketing – which one works for them best
  • How big decisions are made? What information and approach to take?
  • Key factors influencing the decision – how important is brand quality, value, and price
Tom Wells, Sheep & Beef Farmer, Hinterland Foods & Winner of Virgin Australia's 'Got Beef' Campaign
Tim Dangen, Beef Farmer, Kauri Valley Farm
Clare Dill, Beef & Sheep Farmer, Dills Farms
Cultivating a conversation with the rural market
  • Overview of the rural media landscape
  • Strategies for maintaining strong and genuine relationships
  • An optimal mix of digital and non-digital channels in the rural environment
  • What is important to farmers and how do they want to be communicated with?
  • Social responsibility: how can we collaborate and open up around difficult topics?
Luke Chivers, Senior Agribusiness Journalist , GlobalHQ
Lunch break
Key topics roundtables

Choose from our 5 roundtables. Topics are repeated at 2.40pm

RT 1 Apps and the Data Environment in Rural Marketing
Paul Bell, Managing Director, Sales App Centre
RT 2 Marketing on a budget
RT 3 How PR can help you with your brand engagement
Heather Claycomb, Director, HMC
RT 4 How can we support farmers to keep up with the wellbeing programme
Colin Wright, Communications Manager, Farmstrong
RT 5 Diamonds in the rough: finding storytelling opportunities in your value chain
Daniel Eb, Founder, Dirt Road Comms
Key topics roundtables

Choose from our 5 roundtables. See the topics above.

Afternoon break
A lesson in digital channel engagement with rural New Zealand

This session aims to give you a better idea on rural connectivity and its challenges, and how using online media channels can improve your customer engagement  

  • Understanding social media platforms as a means of communication with rural New Zealand
  • The connectivity map in rural NZ – where are the black spots?
  • How do you use social media to connect with agriculturalists – Instagram vs Facebook vs digital advertising?
Case study: Biosecurity communications to the rural sector – learning from Rural Support Trust
  • Using media channels in delivering the message
  • Building effective campaigns to achieve better communication with the audience
  • Learning from M.bovis communications
  • Communicating in a crisis
Neil Bateup, Chairman, Waikato-Hauraki-Coromandel Rural Support Trust
Case study: The Vision is Clear – an inspiring nationwide movement insight

In November last year, DairyNZ together with NZME developed the Vision is Clear movement to motivate New Zealanders to care for their rivers, streams, lakes, and beaches.

  • Inspiring all New Zealanders and dairy farmers to take action to look after their waterways
  • Using a range of channels to deliver the message
  • Analysing the effectiveness of the campaign’s marketing channels
Lee Cowan, Senior Communications and Engagement Manager, Dairy NZ
Summary remarks from the Chair & Networking Drinks
Chelsea Millar, Founder & CEO, Grass Roots Media
Welcome back from the Chair
Chelsea Millar, Founder & CEO, Grass Roots Media
Making your brand help you market effectively to the rural sector
  • How to get your brand out to the market
  • What’s the best way to increase brand awareness?
  • Leveraging brand loyalty in a competitive environment
Fenton Hazelwood, National Commercial Manager – Agriculture Solutions, BASF
Content marketing to build an engaged community in the rural sector
  • How strategic storytelling elevates your content and builds deeper engagement with your audience
  • Using strategic content marketing to become a “Thought leader” in your category
  • Amplifying your content through the most effective digital channels
Tools and techniques for measuring marketing effectiveness
  • Tools to pin point winning vs losing strategies
  • Top 5 performing strategies among Alexanders’ ag clients
  • Time-saving, simple marketing automation that turns leads into prospects
Rachel Alexander, CEO, Alexanders Digital Marketing
Morning break
New for 2019 Growers’ Panel: Growing your knowledge on the priorities and issues of growers

Hear the growers’ perspective and how you can engage them better:

  • What challenges growers are facing?
  • Understanding grower’s goals and practices around sustainability and environmental impact
  • Growers’ opinion on digital vs traditional marketing – which one works for them best
  • Key factors influencing the decision – how important is brand quality, value, and price 
Erin Atkinson, Manager Apata GROW, Apata Group Ltd & 2017 Young Grower of the Year
Andrew Hutchinson, Technical Manager - Covered Crops, T&G Global Limited & 2016 Young Grower of the Year & 2016 Young Horticulturist of the Year
Fiona Gower, National President, Rural Women New Zealand
Annual Reports transformed: how marketing professionals can use the integrated reporting trend to help shape business strategy
  • What integrated reporting is and why it matters?
  • What your Board and leadership team will expect  
  • Why to start and how (Ravensdown’s experience)
Gareth Richards, Group Communications Manager, Ravensdown
Future trends in agriculture

Learn how technology will help with the increasing demand of feeding an enlarging global population and easing the environmental challenges

  • Top-5 AgTech trends shaping agriculture in New Zealand
  • What are some projects around AgTech
Evelyn Seewald, GM Farm Source Digital Systems and Tools, Fonterra
Lunch break
Happy Cow Milk Co – a success story of a sustainable dairy model
  • Challenges a farmer faces when doing business in a different way
  • Managing the crisis and overcoming the failure threats
  • Building brand loyalty in the corporate competitive environment
Glen Herud, Founder, The Happy Cow Milk Company
The Rural Innovation Lab – farmers and growers’ collaboration for innovation in the rural sector
  • Importance of collaboration and doing things differently if we want to see change
  • Overview of implemented innovation projects
  • Analyzing the marketing channels used to engage with farmers and growers
Kristy McGregor, Programme Director, Rural Innovation Lab
Afternoon break
Marketing trends quick-fires and Q&A

Hear from leading marketers as they discuss a top trend impacting their role and how they have integrated it into the marketing strategies with a chance to ask questions at the end.

How to understand your customer best
Sarah Adams, Global Business Development Manager – eShepherd, Gallagher
Sales or Solutions; The difference between customer focussed and customer-centric
Jonathan Dodd, Research Director, Ipsos New Zealand
Repositioning a brand
Holly Steger, Marketing Manager, Norwood
Q&A panel
Sarah Adams, Global Business Development Manager – eShepherd, Gallagher
Jonathan Dodd, Research Director, Ipsos New Zealand
Holly Steger, Marketing Manager, Norwood
Closing Keynote: Marketing futurology in the rural sector - the future of AI and big data
  • What does the future look like for AI?
  • How will AI change the way we market?
  • What are the steps we can put in place to be ready?
Jason Tiller, Group Marketing Manager, Zeala Ltd
Closing remarks from the Chair and end of the conference
Chelsea Millar, Founder & CEO, Grass Roots Media

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