“I grew up on a farm. We learned that there was a season to plant, a season to water, and season to harvest. The planting and watering could be laborious, but without those stages, there would never be a harvest.” —John Wooden, legendary college basketball coach
I also grew up on a farm and learned early there is no off season for farmers. There’s a time for planting in the fields and the garden, followed by weeding, feeding (fertilizing), weeding (again) and thinning, and finally harvest. After these stages, we clear the fields to prepare for the cycle to start over the next season. Farmers have to know when a heifer or cow is ready to breed, as well as when your baby calves will arrive—hopefully not in the middle of winter!
Then there’s the uncertainty of weather. Rain doesn’t always come on schedule. Honestly, it’s usually when you least need or want it. Late-spring freezes could damage early plantings and very well send a farmer back to square one on that season’s crops.
While I didn’t realize (or really appreciate it) at the time, those years on the farm provided a strong foundation for a career as a professional services marketer. We have to remain diligent for our firms and realize there’s a time and season for everything: research, strategy, planning, implementation, evaluation, refocus, then repeat. And it all goes together cyclically: what will you plant (services), where will you plant (geographies, clients, prospects), what to thin out to get a better yield (prioritize), how you’ll get ready to move when the harvest is ready (when the RFP is out and the interview scheduled).
A/E/C firms can also face unpredictable “weather” —an apt description of 2020, when the only certainty is uncertainty. The SMPS Foundation is focused on providing research to inform your future and help you and your firm navigate these uncertainties. We’re here to provide a greater understanding of the possibilities and lean into the Society’s vision of business transformed through marketing leadership. Whether exploring topics like neuropsychology, marketing technology, the importance of diversity and inclusion in our businesses, or what motivates owners when purchasing professional services, the SMPS Foundation is here to serve you.
Together, we can face an uncertain future and position our firms to survive this challenge and thrive. As always, I want to thank you on behalf of the Foundation for your contributions and donations. If you have thoughts on research or topics the Foundation should undertake, I’d love to hear from you.
In the meantime, keep on planting!
Article written by SMPS Foundation President, Donna Corlew, FSMPS, CPSM, who is chief WIT officer of C*Connect. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.