Measuring Product Positioning

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Measuring Product Positioning Use and Needs Within a Dealer Network

Client’s Industry: Agriculture

Client: Nutrien

Client’s Challenge

Nutrien manufactures a controlled release nitrogen fertilizer named ESN (Environmentally Smart Nitrogen) using innovative technology that extends the time window for application while allowing the fertilizer to be available to crops when they need it most. Nutrien experienced certain geographies where adoption of ESN was very high, and other areas where adoption was low.

Nutrien wanted to learn more about the factors leading to varying adoption rates across U.S. agriculture markets. Seeking to build greater product awareness, increase sales, and position ESN as an innovative market leader, the client felt that research among the retailer distribution network was vital to understanding varying market needs.


Prime46 created a qualitative research program to administer across selected geographies identified by the client. The program involved in-depth interviews with ESN retail sales specialists to better understand nitrogen use and decision making by customers in their respective growing region. Additionally, the qualitative interviews explored retailers’ approach to sharing information about ESN with their customers.

The research program allowed for targeted information collection among high and low adoption markets and comparison of agronomic, environmental, and other factors that impact purchase decision making of fertilizer products.


The qualitative research program provided the client with direct retailer feedback on the differences experienced among their high and low adoption markets. The research identified valuable insights for ESN planning, specifically on considerations for different market approaches across different geographies. The information collected addressed a range of key categories to help increase adoption of ESN products in specific markets, including:

  • Agronomic needs
  • Topography
  • Crops in rotation
  • Competition
  • Customer profiles
  • Trial data
  • Product handling
  • Commodity prices
  • Marketing/sales tools


The investment that the client made in dealer network research provided a high level of confidence in which dealer support tactics are succeeding, as well as opportunities to better address different geographic market needs. The information gained from the retailer interviews provided valuable insights for ESN planning to help increase sales in lower adoption regions.

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