On Monday morning I was sitting in standstill traffic on 77 South trying not to lose my temper. So I was paying particular attention to the podcast I was listening to. The hosts were discussing how marketing agencies are like the general contractor who build a house. I've used that one plenty of times before when explaining to prospective clients what I do: ("I help you find the best person to lay the tile, construct your cabinets and paint your walls so we build the exact house you need for your organization.")
But then they offered a better metaphor: marketing is like a garden.
So, I'm going to steal it - and share it with you here. If someone on your board or staff needs to understand the consistency and importance of marketing in your organization - explain it like a garden.
Marketing can mean so many different things - just like gardening. If someone wants to plant a garden, I'm going to ask - What kind? What's your budget? Are these just a few planters on your windowsill, or are you looking to build winding botanical gardens that attract 200k visitors a year?
Once we know those details, we can create the exact garden you need for the budget you have. Then, the next question:
Who and how are you going to maintain it?
I've killed enough plants to know this one is true: just like a garden, if you don't take care of it - it will die (or, you do take care of it, but you have no idea what you're doing so you're doing the wrong things - and it'll still die). Marketing is organic, it needs to grow with the trends of the marketplace and with your own organization's goals. I say it to clients all the time - you can't just "do marketing" by checking off a box and then forget about it. Good marketing requires consistency. You can plan the perfect garden, but without constant care - it's not going to survive - let alone thrive.