In talking to my friend Bill about agriculture, I asked him about the law of seed, time and harvest. He looked at me strangely, wondering why a city boy would want to know about the most basic of agricultural laws. I told him, like I knew what I was talking about, that all things grown in agriculture are subject to the law. "Plant a seed, nurture it, water it, feed it and over time a crop will grow to maturity and be harvested.."
"Yup," he said, "that pretty much sums it up."
He went on to explain...
a bunch of other things to me as well. Depending on the crop, the cycle may be very long or very short. The crop that grows quickly will burn up the nutrients in the soil more rapidly than a crop that takes a long time to mature and will fetch far less at market than the long term crop. Bill’s specialty is nutrient management for dairy herds to maximize production of milk. One other thing he said struck me especially strong. "It’s the same law for milk production. If we don’t feed the cows proper nutrients through their diet, we see a dramatic drop in the quantity and quality of milk produced."
This is where it gets interesting, because the laws that farmers live by also govern advertising, selling, educating and many other things we deal with every day. Yes, our rural friends can teach us much about advertising because the law of seed, time and harvest is one of those universal laws that can be applied across many disciplines. Every day we ask our clients to plant a seed with advertising. By nurturing it (consistency), watering it (frequency) and feeding it (telling a story that is uniquely and wonderfully their own), the seed of advertising will grow. How fast it will grow depends on many factors. The crop (product purchase) cycle has a great deal to do with it. For example, the product purchase cycle on a meal at a restaurant is much shorter than the product purchase cycle for an automobile. You’re hungry about every three to four hours so the opportunity to dine at a restaurant is much higher than the average five years for people to purchase an automobile. It will take the advertising crop longer to mature for a car dealer than it will for a restaurant.
Yet, the question remains for advertisers, "If I spend a certain amount on advertising this week, what will be my immediate return?" Let’s look to the farmer for the answer. There is no farmer that goes to the field, digs a hole, plants a seed, pours water on it, sprinkles a little fertilizer on it and wakes up the next morning asking, "Where’s my crop?" That only happens in the fairy tale Jack & the Beanstalk and this world of advertising is no fairy tale.
It’s the farmer, with the commitment and the courage to know that the seed will germinate and eventually reach up through the soil and grow to maturity, who keeps us fed. And we admire farmers because without them we would starve. So, why do we not admire advertisers for the same commitment and courage? We should be shouting their names from the rooftops and heralding their successes because they understand that as long as they are in business, they need to be advertising. They intuitively understand the law of seed, time and harvest.
So your challenge is to convince your advertising clients to embrace the law and apply it to their own world. It is a matter of education on your part and as we learned earlier that also is guided by the law. Remember what my friend Bill said, "It’s the SAME law..." So start planting seeds with your advertisers and if you till the soil properly, you’ll grow magnificent customers who will be with you for life thanks to the farmer and that’s no fairy tale.