I’m amused by how often the term organic is used in marketing. Organic campaigns, organic link building, organic traffic growth. You’d think the eco/green movement moonlighted in marketing the way we overuse the word organic.

Washington DC PhotosHere’s some food for thought – organic if you like. The difference between organic marketing and paid marketing is the difference between a real flower and a plastic one. If your goal is superficial (decorate the office quickly), plastic is as good as real, it’s faster, probably cheaper, and easier to manage and maintain.

If your goal, however, is for that flower to eventually grow, reproduce, and bear fruit, then the plastic version will not do. The trouble is, a real flower is a lot more work. It takes vastly more time, more energy, more maintenance than the plastic or cloth substitute, but if your goal is long term, lasting growth, only the naturally grown flower will do.

Is there a place for the plastic floral display? Of course – but it depends on your goals. Too much marketing focuses on the superficial, the fast hit, the quarterly or monthly numbers (which are vitally important, don’t get me wrong) at the expense of the long term growth. The investment you make in the plastic flower today will not diminish, but nor will it ever grow or bear fruit. The investment you make in the real flower will, assuming proper care and focus, not only grow, but increase until you hit a critical mass where your field of flowers are self-sustaining.

What are you growing in your marketing?

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