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Marketing is like Gardening

March 30, 2010

I spent the weekend working in my garden. For those of you in the Midwest or East Coast, you may be looking out a window at snow drifts or slush, thinking I’m nuts. But I assure you that the nice gardening weather begins in March in the Bay Area. (This is why a great many of us ex-Midwesterners head west in the first place!) Not that the nice weather stays for long. I awoke to showers and they continued throughout the day with temps dropping. I dashed out this afternoon for the two-minute window of actual sunlight to snap a few photos I wanted to show you.

Particularly after a long, dreary winter (read: rain, rain, rain), it’s fabulous to be able to get out into the sunshine for a few hours – alright, many hours – to begin converting the weed-infested, overgrown yard into a tranquil haven for birds, my dog and cat and, oh, yes, my frogs! So as I finished up last night with the last rays of sunshine setting over the Mayacamas to the west, I noticed my wisteria positively glowing in the long, low, red rays.


I snapped this image during those brief moments of sunshine this rainy Monday. It was too late last night to get a decent shot. I’m generally a bit of a gardening addict, working the weeding, clearing and/or planting into the pitch dark at night. (Landscape lighting can be a real plus!)

Marketing is like gardening. It requires constant tending to thrive and be successful. OK, I’m not out there every week or every day. Weeks and even months went by as the perennials died off above ground and turned brown this year. In past years I’ve been far more diligent about cutting back the native grasses, lantana and other plants that go dormant in winter. This year I let it go while I concentrated on other events in my life and business.

Getting back into gardening feels a bit like getting into a workout routine. You get a lot of satisfaction from getting control out of something out-of-control in your life…like an overgrown yard. When you are hitting all the points in your marketing plan, project after project or campaign after campaign, you feel like you’re on top of it all, working all the points of the plan. The garden is the same: You know you have to get rid of the weeds – and keep them out — in order to provide the best soil for the good plants to thrive.

Planting in the garden is just the same as planting and planning a new marketing strategy. First, you must research what will do well in the particular soil and sunlight conditions. Next, you may be reviewing the mix of plants. How do they look together? Is it a good balance? Will any one or more plants suck all the nutrients away from another? This can be the same problem in marketing. What looks good in planning turns out to suck the life out of the other campaigns in the mix.

Just like gardening we learn year after year in marketing what did and didn’t work well. Some venues seem promising but just don’t bring any return – or stop bringing in returns on the investment. You don’t always know why. For unknown reasons the wisteria vine on the near corner of my pergola just committed garden suicide. It had great roots when we pulled it out, but it just stopped growing one year and left this world. It took another two years for me to find a specimen to fit in the little hole in the deck (they’d all been planted before the deck was built). So that’s why the little one in front isn’t trellised up onto the roof.

Marketing is like gardening. It takes a lot of work to do it well. It has to be done consistently and minded regularly to thrive. Pests can eat away at your carefully planted seeds. Beautiful, mature plants and programs can be underminded by gophers and other nasty parasites. Both overwatering and underwatering can kill an otherwise healthy plant. Tend your marketing garden carefully!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 30, 2010 3:14 am

    Lovely patio!

  2. March 30, 2010 10:19 pm

    Yes, marketing and gardening both require lots of tender loving care. I find that in both my gardening and my business, I’m pretty good at working at it every week, not as good at the long term planning. Room for growth in both! (Didn’t plan the rhyme, but I rather like it . . .)

    Stunning pic – thanks for providing the little breath of spring!

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