In my book The StartUp Revolution: Fit In or Stand Out, I talk about the various stages of development from the hunting, self-sufficieny age, through the farming, then industrial revolution and now the connection age.
Five thousand years ago, every human was a hunter. If you were hungry, you got a rock or a stick and you went hunting.
The problem was that all of the animals were either dead, really good at outrunning us or really good at hiding.
Fortunately, we discovered/invented the idea of farming. Plant seeds, fertilise them, water them, watch them grow and then you harvest them.
The idea spread and it led to the farming revolution and the birth of civilization.
Everyone got the idea… except for marketers.
Marketers still like to hunt. Hunt for customers.
What we are discovering, though, is that the good prospects are getting really good at hiding, outrunning Marketers. Spam emails go directly to the spam folder and is deleted without being read.
Clearly, farming is a very different activity from hunting. Farmers spend time sweating the details, worrying about the weather, making smart choices about seeds and breeding and working hard to avoid a bad crop.
Planting crops to grow food is less dangerous than going into the forest. Plus, having food around when you are hungry is a nice perk. But farming takes time, crops don’t just spring up overnight.
Hunters, on the other hand, have long periods of distracted noticing interrupted by brief moments of frenzied panic.
When hunting, you eat what you kill. Hunter prospecting methods involve doing things that get you business immediately. The downside is, you will soon be hungry again and need to spend time hunting down new clients.
As any jungle predator can tell you, your hunting success rate will vary and there are times you may go hungry for a spell.
In the age of branding and customer relationships, farming customers and building relationships from scratch, is more sustainable than randomly hunting clients.
Farming is looking after your existing clients and growing them.
Farming is underrated.
PS: Farming in certain communities is RSA is underrated because it is not a sexy sector. Putting overalls and riding tractors, ploughing and reaping are not deemed sexier than being in an air-conditioned incubator, drinking coffee the whole day starring in your MacBook building apps, and writing business plans. People eat everyday, at least 3 times a day, what a market, what an opportunity… missed.