My nephew Andy is a farmer. He’s wanted to be a farmer since he was a little boy. For Andy, there’s something so special about tending the crop to harvest.
Spend a day with him and you’ll learn that farming is very hard but rather simple work.
Of course technology has made a significant impact on the farming process. Fields are now charted by GPS, seeds are engineered to withstand hardship and chemicals assist in maximizing output.
But, the process is still pretty simple; turn the soil, plant the seed, water the field and harvest the crop.
Imagine if Andy farmed like many organizations marketed.
Here are 5 lessons that farmer Andy could teach marketers today:
- Choose the right crop for the right field. Market segmentation and targeted messaging allow us to focus our efforts and leverage our marketing dollars like never before. The proliferation of smaller more targeted events, allows exhibitors the chance to tell their story to a very qualified audience.
- Remember where you planted your seed. What’s the point to randomly handing out or letting people help themselves to your literature a trade show? When that brochure gets stuffed into a show bag, it’s one step closer to the trash can. Just like the farmer controls his seed, the trade show marketer must control his information.
- Nurture your seed as it grows. Focused follow-up and relationship development after the show is CRITICAL! The farmer would never toss his seeds to the wind and expect the crop to harvest itself. Why do exhibitors think that they can show up at a show, hand out literature, give away a few pens and expect a harvest to follow? The harvest will belong to the marketing farmer who works the field.
- Know when to harvest your crop. Experienced marketing and sales people know when it’s time to ask for the business. They take a very strategic approach to developing the prospect into a customer and know when the time is right to close. And, close they must.
- Be a good steward of the land. Give back to your industry. Get involved with the associations you belong to. Put your “knowledgeware” (your smart people) on display by getting them on the speaker’s platform and presenting at your big conference. To be seen as a thought leader you need to act like one.
If farmers behaved more like the average marketer, this country would starve.
With the exception of field sales (interesting use of words), the trade show floor is the only marketing field where we are face to face with our market. In this field we have the opportunity to nurture a good crop and grow your business like no other.
So put on your overalls, grab your pitchfork and get to planting. You’ve got mouths to feed!