How marketing strategies mirror plant lifecycles

Last week I received a couple of perennial kale plants along with seeds to grow another couple hundred.

Perennials are useful food plants. Since they can live for years they take more planning and patience than annuals (which will only live for a year-ish). You have to research what kind of environment it needs, how large it will grow, and how long before it’s producing.

But once they are producing, there can be a lot less effort for the same amount of food. There are reports of these kale plants growing 10+ feet tall (versus 2-3 feet for a regular annual). That’s a lot of kale to eat year-after-year.

Annuals are still useful for what they do, getting food produced quickly, but you have to pair them with your goals and tastes.

For me, my goal is high food production with the ability to minimize effort if I don’t have time to tend to things. That means plants that can do their thing without me messing with them.

This annual-perennial spectrum shows up in other places too.

You might have recognized your marketing works the same way.

Advertising is like annuals. You have to put in a lot of work and resources to make them produce but they can create a lot of sales in a short period of time. Same for flash sales or influencer promotions.

Content marketing and SEO are more perennialish. A lot of planning upfront but then just little bits of work over time with results building up slowly.

And the most perennial of all is working with your repeat customers. Results here can take a long time to build but once they do, you’ll be getting orders for almost no marketing costs. But it requires patience and learning how your customers behave, like with the Customer Grids and RFM reports in Repeat Customer Insights.

Most gardeners start with annuals (e.g. ads) to get their garden going. Then for long-term sustainability they turn to perennials in later years (e.g. content, SEO, retention, loyalty strategies).

Eric Davis

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