A Parable – Farmer Smith and Farmer Brown


A Parable – Farmer Smith and Farmer Brown

Farmer Smith and Farmer Brown decided to plant apricots this coming year. Both bought the best stock and duly watered and fertilized them. The trees grew large and strong and within a few years brought in a bumper crop of apricots. Both farmers did well.

Farmer Smith decided that since he had done so well and had such a good crop, he no longer needed to fertilize the trees. After all they were now mature and producing, plus fertilizer and its application was expensive. Farmer Brown continued to fertilize as he had done while the trees were growing to maturity.

While farmer Brown continued to have bumper crops, farmer Smith noticed a slow decline in his production. The second crop was good, the residual fertilizer in the soil was working its magic. But as the next few years went by, the crops were smaller and smaller.

Farmer Brown, however, was continuing to have bumper crops and his profits were skyrocketing. So much so, that one day he made an offer farmer Smith could not refuse (just before the bank was about to foreclose) and bought Smith’s farm. A year or two of fertilizer applications, and Smith’s apricots were producing like Browns. Brown was a good neighbor and kept Smith on as manager, but ensured he used proper farming techniques, including fertilizer.

Consider that marketing dollars are the fertilizer that nourishes your company. If you take farmer Smith’s approach you do so at your peril. Investing in trade shows and advertising as you start up will give you a bumper crop but, as we saw from farmer Brown, you need to keep the minerals required to grow coming.

Yes, you can ride on the residuals left in the market for a year or so, but they will decrease rapidly and your business will wither and stagnate. Just ask farmer Smith. You can reach him through farmer Brown’s office.


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John Van Horn

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