Communications Project

Document Type:Master's Thesis
Name:Amanda Janice Wilson
Title:Database Marketing Management Strategies for Agricultural Lenders
Degree:Master of Science
Department:Agricultural and Applied Economics
Committee Chair: David Kohl
Committee Members:Dixie Watts Reaves, Co-Chair
David Kenyon
Alexander B. White
Keywords:banking, farmers,products, services, marketing, influencers
Date of defense:April 10, 1998
Availability:Release the entire work for Virginia Tech access only.
After one year release worldwide only with written permission of the student and the advisory committee chair.


This study examines the use of databases to improve marketing techniques and customer segmentation in lending institutions. Specifically, this study examines the use of products and services by agricultural customers, and then determines the relationship between the use of those products and services with farm business characteristics. Information is also obtained on the interest rate sensitivity of the producers and correlated with farm business characteristics. The importance of technology and strategic alliances and other influences in the decision making process are determined after survey analysis. The survey was sent to producers who had some type of loan. Respondents from this study used an average of 3.2 loan products and 7.6 services for a total of 10.8 loans and services. Only 1 percent of the respondents indicated that they did not have a personal checking account. Twelve percent of the respondents indicated that they did not use a credit card. Only 16 percent of the respondents indicated that they used leasing services. Investment products did not have a high percentage of use. Thirty-three percent indicated they were using certificates of deposit, while only 21 percent indicated the use of money market funds, and 30 percent indicated the use of mutual funds. Thirty-seven percent indicated they were using IRAs. However, most of the respondents were using some form of insurance. Three-fourths of the respondents were using life insurance, while only 21 percent indicated that they did not possess disability insurance. Other services were also analyzed in this study. Only 15 percent of the respondents indicated that they were utilizing estate planning services, despite the 67 percent of respondents who were greater than age 41 and the 58 percent of respondents with greater than $500,000 in assets. Seventeen percent of the respondents were using an appraisal service. Due to the lower levels of usage for the investment products, this study focused on the relationship between farm characteristics and the investment products. This study showed that a relationship existed between farm and non-farm income with IRA usage. iii Only farm income had a relationship with money market fund usage and mutual fund usage. While, the use of estate plans was related to asset level. The analysis on interest rate sensitivity was determined by the amount an interest rate would have to decrease for a producer to switch lending institutions. The producers who were found to be less interest rate sensitive were those who had lower farm and non-farm incomes, lower asset levels, lower education levels, higher debt-to-asset ratio, and those who owned a computer. This implies that these are the more loyal customers to an institution or perhaps these producers have fewer opportunities to switch institutions. Producers in this study indicated that when selecting a lender/service provider, a competitive interest rate (76 percent of respondents) and the institution being a dependable source of credit (75 percent) was important. Knowledge of agriculture was also very important (69 percent of respondents). Internet banking and educational seminars rated as the characteristics that were least important, 3 percent and 9 percent, respectively. However, in the decision making process, lenders (69 percent of respondents), accountants (53 percent), and veterinarians (38 percent) were shown to be very important. The spouse/partner has considerable influence also on decision making. Sixty-seven percent of the respondents indicated that the spouse/partner had a considerable influence on investment decision, while sixty-one percent of the respondents indicated that the spouse/partner had a considerable influence on credit decisions. Five specific recommendations were made to the institutions following this study. These recommendations include: use of technology, institutional use of databases, use of influencers, and targeting and segmenting the marketplace.

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