Earlier this year, at the start of spring, my six-year-old son’s Grandma gave him three sunflower seeds to plant. She told him they would each plant three seeds in their respective gardens and compare the results in the summertime.

So, what does that have to do with marketing Richard?

Ok, bear with me…

My son carefully planted his seeds in compost in a tray on the windowsill. He watered them every day and always ran down the stairs in the morning to see if they had started to grow. When we got to the point where the seeds were shooting up above the soil he was delighted, but he didn’t stop there, he carried on caring and nurturing them, even taking them outside to ‘harden off’ in the daytime and bringing them back in at night.

Grandma, however, did not do the same.

As the seeds grew, my son placed the seedlings into larger pots, and when they outgrew the larger pots he transferred them into the ground. But before planting them in the ground he insisted the soil was properly cared for first, just as he had been taught at school. He dug it, weeded it and mixed in some compost and fertiliser before planting them. It was hard work, but he insisted on doing it this way, telling me in no uncertain terms that this was the right way to get the best results!

Grandma, however, did not do the same.

As summer arrived, we had three enormous sunflowers growing tall and strong at the bottom of our garden. Three smiley sunflower faces dancing in the breeze every time my son looked out of his bedroom window, smiling up at him. He was so proud

When he visited his Grandma’s house to see how her sunflowers were doing, his face dropped and he looked at them bemused! “Why aren’t they as big as my sunflowers, Grandma?” he asked.

He showed his Grandma a photo of his sunflowers towering above him as he stood proudly next to them with a joyful smile on his face. He explained to her the process of how he had grown them and the love and care he gave to them. Grandma looked rather sheepish and explained she had simply planted hers into the soil!

This story shares a lot in common with marketing and how a director at one company can see sales and marketing in such a different way to another.

You see sales, just like planting sunflowers, will almost always yield better results when prepared in advance. Marketing bears no instant results to sales, it takes time and nurturing. As a result, many sales directors have little time for it. They want the instant sale, not the marketing for next month’s sales.

But ironically those very same directors are usually the ones chasing their tails, trying to hit their target. They never learn!

The smart director is the one doing the groundwork for next month and next quarter for  their marketing. They’re the ones exceeding sales figures instead of chasing them!

Sucessful Marketing

There’s nothing new or tricky to marketing your company, just as there was nothing new or tricky to my six-year-old son preparing the soil for his sunflower seeds. The knowledge and expertise is already out there. The key difference is a little patience and self-discipline to do good marketing and not expect the sales just to fall into your lap.