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Are You an Apple Tree Planter or a Hunter- Gatherer?

By: Robert Middleton

Robert Middleton, of Action Plan Marketing in Palo Alto, Calif., has helped hundreds of professional service businesses attract new clients and get paid what they're worth.

His website is a resource for marketing professional services. Visit it at Action Plan Marketing.

When it comes to marketing, are you a planter of apple trees or a hunter-gatherer. Or are you both?

An apple tree planter is doing marketing for the long-term. They know the seeds they plant today won't be ready for harvest for some time. They are patient. They cultivate, water, fertilize and weed and wait for the crop to come in.

In service businesses this translates to doing long-term marketing activities such as networking, giving talks, writing articles, sending newsletter and posting a web site. All of these take time to ripen, but when they do, the crop comes in abundantly. The phone rings off the hook.

But perhaps before that happens you need to be a hunter-gatherer who needs the immediate gratification of appointments with decision makers who can buy now! If so, you need to sharpen your skills of prospecting, telephone selling, making presentations, doing needs assessments and making proposals.

You need to do hunting and gathering if you want to feed yourself now and plant trees if you want to feed yourself tomorrow with more security. But no matter what kind of marketing you do to fill your larder, you must commit NOW to mastering the marketing skills of attracting, persuading and closing or you won't be in business for long. Marketing is the active pursuit of turning an empty pot into a full one, of turning opportunities into realities. To do this you need to be resourceful, investment-minded, creative, generous and outgoing.

You won't be successful at marketing your services and finding new clients consistently if you are like these kinds of marketers:
  • The lazy marketer: I really don't like marketing. It's just not me. Perhaps I'll get to it later. Hopefully something will turn up in the meantime. (It won't.)
  • The cheap marketer: Who cares what this brochure looks like. I want to save money. I'll just copy it on cheap paper and hope nobody notices. (They will.)
  • The non-creative marketer: I'll just do what everyone else in my industry is doing. After all, if there was a better way, wouldn't they have thought of it already? (Perhaps not.)
  • The selfish marketer: I'll tell everybody everything about me and my service. I'll give them all the features. That will impress them. Benefits are too abstract. (Not so.)
  • The wallflower marketer: I hate networking. If people were interested in my service they'd find me. I don't want to make a fool of myself by going to events. (So what!)
None of these marketers will ever experience success in marketing. So whether you are going to plant apple trees or be a hunter-gatherer; make a commitment to learn the skills, master the techniques and do the work necessary to fill your basket to overflowing.

© Copyright 2000, Robert Middleton

Other Articles by Robert Middleton

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


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