Cue Leonard Bernstein’s Make Our Garden Grow on YouTube while you read.
The most successful gardening requires lots of things many occasional (or uninformed) gardeners don’t want to do. Double-digging. (I hate doing this, but I just did it for my new garden.) Amending soil with stinky stuff like manure. Laying down weed paper and irrigation lines. Oh, yeah: regular watering!
There are times when I’d like to use shortcuts, expecting the same results the long method produces. (Yeah, right!)
Many sometime gardeners just go to the local big box store for what they want. They buy some six packs of marigolds, Gerbera daisies and maybe some petunias. These plants are already blooming like crazy and look very attractive at the store. All that’s required is to pop them out of the plastic sleeve and put them in a hole in the ground or in a pot. Press the dirt around it, water it, and you’re done! Right?
Instant Garden — just like Instant Customers!
Those flowers should grow nice and big, reproducing multi-fold. (After all, that six pack was soooooo small. Of course they’d grow infinitely larger with all of Mother Earth’s dirt there to spread out their roots in immediately!)
Uh, oh! What’s wrong? It’s curling over like it’s sad! The leaves are wilting and turning brown. Did I use too much water or too little?
Nuts! I guess there was something wrong with those marigolds. I guess that lemon tree was diseased when I got it at the store.(The list of the plants’ problems goes on and on.)
And thus another great marketing campaign, er, plant, bites the dust, discarded in the trash, accused of being faulty from the get-go!
Some Are More Talented Gardeners, er, Marketers, Than Others
But we all know some folks have greener thumbs than others. Those marigold six-packs were in perfect condition when your neighbor got them. The lemon tree had healthy fruit growing when she started.
She lovingly planted it in a sunny location in your yard with good drainage. She was careful to handle the root ball gently and ensured the hole in the ground was plenty big enough when she planted it. She fed it organic fruit tree fertilizer at the proper intervals.
The fruit didn’t seem to grow bigger. It just stopped growing. In frustration one day your neighbor dug it up, wondering why the tree was getting no bigger and fruit wasn’t producing. And what did she find?
Nothing was wrong. The tree had been developing its roots steadily throughout the past year (until she viciously ripped it out of the ground!)
The mistake was not understanding the complete growing cycle of her lemon tree, er, target market!
Just like many new or inexperienced gardeners, this new gardener was unaware that the tree would take at least a year to develop strong roots and get over the shock of transplanting. Though it may have seemed like there was little or no activity above ground, that lemon tree may have been on the verge of an above ground growth spurt and fruit development.
Marketing Is Just Like Gardening
Some campaigns and some venues are more like marigolds. They seed quickly, establish roots and focus all their energy on producing stunning flowers. But, hey! It’s an annual. There and gone in a short amount of time.
Customers can behave like this too. Some products are relatively inexpensive and their sales cycle is short and easy. But like those annuals, you have to keep feeding the pipeline to keep those orange flowers blooming.
Trees are more like big-ticket items. They may plant quickly and easily, but their roots don’t take to moving very quickly. Growth underground is slow but steady. They are perennials. They’ll be around year after year after year. But as far as you can tell on the surface, nothing is happening. Your tree may as well be dead. So you chuck it. The growth cycle of this customer is too long to stick around for.
How to Improve Your Gardening, er, Marketing Skills
You’re a smart business owner. You don’t want to waste anything. You’d prefer not to rip out your garden and start over if it can be helped, right?
- Don’t rip out a marketing campaign prematurely!
- Like a funky pest infecting your lemon tree, take a leaf or a sample rotted fruit to an expert to review. (Translation: Don’t scrap that campaign until an expert has agreed it’s a total loss. You may be expecting a crop of new customers too soon.)
- Perhaps all you need is a spray to eradicate the infestation. (Translation: Maybe your message is off the mark. Good copywriting is an art and a science. An expert can let you know.)
- In short, ask an expert to review your strategy before throw it out.
One of the biggest mistakes made by marketing neophytes is a lack of patience for a new venue to produce the desired results. They’re waiting for the phone to ring from this new campaign launch a week after it kicks off. They’re waiting for (many) someone(s) to say, “I got your postcard. Where do I send my money?!”
What newbies often overlook is the recipient’s point of view:
Wow! I love this product! I’ve never heard of this company, so I’m going to wait awhile to see if I still need it.