Three lessons from a (wannabe) gardener on how to optimize your marketing campaign, integration and outcomes.

If you’re a gardener, you’re already excited about this parallel. If you’re not, you probably thinking I’ve just lost it… but give me a minute here. Cultivating your marketing campaign goes beyond the obvious “grow your garden/grow your business” analogy. There are so many more takeaways – planning, integration, and evaluation – that enhance the whole spectrum of your efforts.

Used in different contexts, “cultivate” means “to prepare” and “to foster.” Both contexts apply to gardening and to marketing. Here are three ways you can apply it to cultivating your next marketing campaign for more strategic execution and measurable outcomes.

  1. Planning for prolonged impact

    Ask any gardener and they’ll tell you “fall is for planting.” It’s basically our mantra. But also a little misleading because fall is for planting and planning, and planning always comes first. Most gardeners strive for year-round displays. If you mass all of your effort into one season, you will have a spectacular burst of beauty for a short period of time, but then go dormant for the remaining 10-11 months. Instead, we stagger blooms to prolong the activity and interest of the garden.

    Marketing is the same. Plan (any time of the year) your campaign out for optimal timing and impact. In marketing especially, calls to action are fleeting and out of sight is out of mind. No matter your initial display, if you go dormant for extended periods of time, even you’ll be distracted from your “garden” in favor of someone else’s which is in bloom.

    Keep your audience interested with ongoing activity and diversity (and segue to below…).

  2. Diversify + integrate

    In gardening, there are “tried and true” plants. In marketing there are “tried and true” tactics. These are often the foundational elements of a garden/campaign for one simple reason: they work. (Take banner ads as an example.) But since they can also be a little too expected, gardeners and marketers alike are always looking to spice things up with new and trending tactics that may catch our audiences’ eye in unconventional ways and leave them asking for more (aka through a CTA!).

    The most important part is how all of the plants/tactics perform as an integrated whole. One plant does not necessarily create a garden. One tactic does not necessarily create a campaign. Sure there are plants and tactics which star in the show and serve as focal points, but they are almost always accompanied by a supporting cast.

    Tactics which serve to remind our audience of our message and provide additional opportunities for engagement are essential to cultivating a successful integrated marketing campaign.

  3. Evaluate + optimize

    The best laid plans… (you know where I’m going here). But seriously, flexibility is a key to cultivation. When you plant a cluster of those trendy new blooms in your garden only to realize that they are more hype than hooray, you switch your game plan.

    In marketing, when you see a tactic isn’t performing as expected – be it garnering impressions, conversions, “likes,” purchases, etc. – you need to be prepared to recognize this gap and alter your approach to something that will be more effective.

    Gardens and marketing campaigns can thrive or fail based on your ability (and oftentimes sheer willingness) to adapt them.

Ready to cultivate your marketing campaign but don’t know where to start?

Marketing campaigns and gardens grow into their own (there, I said it!) over time and trial. They are always evolving based on need, performance, and new opportunities. But that doesn’t make them any less difficult to begin sometimes.

If you are exploring opportunities for you own company and aren’t yet sure which tactics to incorporate, or how, or if you don’t know if you have the resources to do so, that’s ok. It’s ok to begin with just a few “blooms” and then move forward once those are established.

The key is to start. Gardens don’t flower without plants. Campaigns don’t convert without tactics. And, of course, we’re always here to help – no trowel or garden gloves required!