Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Lessons from the (Marketing) Garden: Make a Plan!


Over the Christmas break, in between the sprouts and mince pies, I started to think about my vegetable plot at the bottom of my garden. Those who know me well will know that I'm a keen gardener - I say keen rather than good, since I garden with more enthusiasm than competence!

This time of year that's not much that you can do outside and the ridiculously soggy weather has made it very challenging. However I did manage to turn the compost heap and clear a couple of raised beds before being pulled back indoors by the magnetic attraction of cold turkey and chrain sandwiches.  

However it's useful to a have a period of relative inactivity between seasons as it provides an opportunity to pause and reflect on last year's efforts and plan forward for the year ahead. So rather than dive straight into planting seeds to early (they'd only rot at the moment in any case) I spent a happy day thinking about what to plant in each of my raised beds and ordering seeds from a couple of websites for delivery over the weeks ahead. Being a technologist at heart - I snapped my plot with my iPhone, labelled the beds using Skitch and clipped the web pages of what I'd ordered into Evernote. That way I'll be able to keep a record of how the year progresses, along with links the the information found on the back of seed packets regarding care after sowing (usually I find the packets become illegible after a few weeks in the greenhouse).

But now I have a garden plan for 2013. But it's only a plan. One of the most memorable quotes I heard last year (via  +Bob Apollo) came from 19th century Prussian Field Marshal von Moltke - "No plan survives first contact with the enemy". So we'll shortly deploy cloches, nematodes and compost and revise the plan as the year progresses - or discard it altogether. But for a brief moment I feel prepared.

When I first started in B2B marketing, the marketers year seemed a little more seasonal (and the summers were warmer!). December and January were relatively quiet and we used the time to write plans and spend time swapping ideas with our colleagues. But these days the pace appears to be unrelenting - this "always on" world seems to demand that we're constantly doing something. As a result we do far to little thinking, reflecting and planning and I'm convinced our the quality of our marketing (not to mention our energy levels) suffer.

So instead of wasting too much time reading everyone's technology and marketing predictions for 2013, step away from the laptop/tablet for a little while and do some thinking about what you want to achieve. I guarantee you'll feel better - and if you are already too out-of-control to plan, then perhaps I can do a little thinking for you...

BTW - in case your interested here's the Garden plan:
Bed1: Peas, Lettuce
Bed2: Parsnip, Rocket, Broad Bean
Bed3: Alpine Strawberries, Chard
Bed4: Broccoli (purple) and Calabrese
Bed5 & 6: Cut Flowers
Bed7: Cabbage, Cauliflower, Pak Choi
Bed8: Asparagus, Strawberry
Bed9: Raspberry, Gooseberry, Currants
Bed10: Courgette, Sweetcorn, Spinach
Greenhouse: Tomato

2 comments:

Simon Taylor said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one to use the von Moltke quote - it's now become part of my regular pitch on starting a new project with a new client!

But I've only got one real comment to add: wot, no spuds?!

Pete Jakob said...

@simon: Hi Simon - Good call on the spuds! Truth is I know there are still a few Pink Fir Apples buried in the beds from last year (!) plus I've had a little more success in the last couple of years by simply growing them in sacks on the back step - and much easier to earth up and harvest.