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Ivy and Trees

January 17, 2011

In this sales-driven world the focus is always on the immediate.  The next sale.  Next quarter.  What’s the next campaign from Marketing?

We’re not being critical when we say this.  After all, we operate Crowded Ocean from the premise of ‘Sales-Based Marketing’—that the purpose and goal of Marketing comes down to 3 words:  Make Sales Easier.

So as long as a client’s goal is to keep the doors open—meaning that they’re living quarter to quarter—the role of Marketing is to create as many short-term programs as the budget allows.  We call this process “planting ivy”—covering the market with a variety of quick-yield programs across a variety of channels/media, with a broad variety of content and incentives.

But the forward-thinking companies, while still spending most of their budgets on ivy, recognize that they need to plant “trees” as well—initiatives that may not produce until six months, even a year, from now.  These programs are usually in the area of PR and thought leadership (creating a new, deeper understanding of a marketing issue/problem; working with analysts and influencers to shape the criteria within a market category; help the market step back and understand how much issues have changed).  They take time to produce fruit, but when they combine their yield with the ongoing ground cover of the early years, you wind up being not just Another Company but a new market leader.

So, even in tough times, we advise our startup clients to invest 10% of their marketing budget in planting “trees”.  It’s good for the planet, good for the client.

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