7 Things Gardening Can Teach You About Marketing Your Business

Gardening Is Like Marketing

This is my first attempt at vegetable gardening. I started without a plan – only a dream of eating fresh summer salads from my own backyard. As a result, my garden wasn’t very organized. Soon plants started to crowd each other. Some died from a lack of sun. Others grew wild and weedy. It wasn’t a resounding success.

My first attempts at marketing had similar results. I didn’t have a plan, so it quickly became difficult to keep my efforts organized. Some connections grew and thrived, but many others died from lack of follow-up.

I’ve become better at both gardening and marketing over the years, thanks to countless hours of practice. Looking back on those experiences, I can tell you that gardening and marketing have many similarities. The lessons you learn from one can be easily applied to the other.

Seven Marketing Lessons I Learned From Gardening

1. You need to do it regularly. Neither gardening nor marketing is a once-and-done thing. You don’t plant a seed, forget about it, and then come back three months later to gather the fruit. You have to give that seed regular attention, watering it occasionally and pruning back the dead leaves. Your customers and business prospects need the same attention. Check in with them regularly to make sure you’re meeting their needs. Otherwise your relationship could wither and die.

2. You need a plan. Without a plan, things can get as crazy as the garden pictured above. That doesn’t mean you need a 10-page document to dictate your every move. You just need an outline of what marketing you’ll be doing, and a schedule to make sure it actually gets done.

3. Consider your surroundings. Different plants require different conditions. Some like damp soil and full shade. Others like dry soil and lots of sun. Your audience probably has similar preferences, depending on its demographic and the niche of your business. Keep that in mind when creating your marketing plan. Check out what works for the competition, and get feedback from current customers to find out what conditions will help your business thrive.

4. Have patience. Building a strong customer base, like growing a garden, takes time and patience. Unfortunately, there are few good ways to rush their growth.  Keep that in mind, and don’t expect overnight success. Your marketing efforts are working, but you may not get to taste the fruits of your labor until months or even years later.

5. Don’t get overwhelmed by abundance. If you’ve ever planted a vegetable garden, you know that eventually you’ll have more zucchini than you could ever eat. Some businesses are like this, too. Things seem slow until one week in July, when – bam! Suddenly you can’t keep up with demand. Know that you will experience periods of great abundance, and try to plan as best you can so little or nothing goes to waste.

6. Some people, like some plants, are prickly and high-maintenance. You wouldn’t waste your time coddling a finicky rosebush all year unless it produced some spectacular results. Treat your customers the same way. Sometimes, the prickly and high-maintenance customers are worth the stress they cause you. If not, weed them out of your business and make room for better things to grow.

7. Some situations are out of your control. Last summer was the wettest on record for my hometown. As a result, many plants caught blight and died. I dutifully sprayed my cucumbers with fungicides, but I wasn’t able to save them. Market conditions can be the same way. Good marketing will help you weather the storms, but it won’t them go away. Just keep the serenity prayer in mind: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

What lessons from the garden can you apply to marketing? Let me know in the comments section below.

6 Responses to 7 Things Gardening Can Teach You About Marketing Your Business

  • Kari says:

    This is a great article! I love it!

  • kschlieder says:

    Great analogy. How in the world do you come up with this stuff? It's brilliant but I have to be honest I don't look at my garden and think marketing. At least I didn't until now! Thanks.

    BTW…just started planting things in my boxes and a few items are starting to pop up. Will have to share photos soon.

  • Kelly Watson says:

    That's easy … I realize I haven't done a blog post in a week, and think, “What the hell can I write about this time?” Then I remember how I still need to plant that rhododendron bush and try to come up with a compromise .

    Hope your new garden is going well!

  • Pingback: What’s Your WHY – and What It Has To Do With Marketing | One Woman Marketing

  • Stan Horst says:

    I would add a number 8…Expect Seasons! Most businesses, like gardens, have ebb and flow. It is important to recognize that there will be times when you’ve got more than you can keep up with, as mentioned in #5 above. There will also be times when things are slower than you would like, and you might start to worry if it will ever pick up again.

    For me, the key is to remember that seasons come and seasons go. When things are slow, don’t sit around and fret about it, but recognize that the slow season will eventually come to an end.

    What are the things I can do during the slow season? Just like gardening, there are tasks and planning that can be done when things are a little slower. This is the time to think about the big picture and look out into the future. Setting goals is a great activity for this time. In some businesses, taking care of maintenance items would be appropriate for this time.

    The most important thing is…don’t panic!
    Stan Horst recently posted…Home Styles Soda Shoppe Corner Booth Set in Red

  • Kelly Watson says:

    Great tip! You know, once I wrote this article I kept thinking of things I could add. I don’t think I ever considered this one, though. Thanks :)

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