Marketing Lessons Learned while Bush Hogging…Yep, I Said Bush Hogging!

Brenda Pearce, Founder and CEO, SweetWater Marketing

During the pandemic, I’ve tried to mix things up a bit. Even though we’ve been stuck at home, my family and I have made a concentrated effort to try new and different things we may never have had the opportunity to do before. And then we did some things I said we’d never do, like get my daughter a horse.

Yes, my daughter got a horse. My daughter and I have both fallen in love with Ocean Warrior, a 16H thoroughbred. Ocean Warrior stays on a farm in the beautiful countryside of Ardmore, Alabama, complete with huge fields, a barn, horses, dogs, cats, duck, and geese. There’s something so peaceful about the beauty of a fresh bush hogged field, the smell of cut grass, the blue sky, and the big fluffy clouds. It’s so calm and relaxing in the country, so we go every chance we get.

Although our visits are mostly to let my daughter ride her horse, we help out with barn chores too. Even mucking the stalls, which is nobody’s favorite chore. That brings me to my next adventure- mowing the field. I quickly learned it was called bush hogging for a reason. This particular piece of equipment is expensive and ornery. You have to hold your mouth just right and lift up your foot at the same time you are changing gears, all while turning on the engine and letting it run just a bit before you start her. That’s quite a list to mow a field.

While there is so much to learn and do on a farm that are specific to farming, there are things that also translate into my favorite field- marketing.

Here are 5 things bush hogging and marketing have in common:

  1. Sometimes you have to go outside the lines – Nothing is ever easy. Nothing is ever perfectly straight. Even though it’s important to know your niche and know your expertise, sometimes you have to go outside the lines to reach the people that you need to reach.
  2. Watch out for low hanging trees – In bush hogging, low hanging trees can take the cab off. (And tractors are expensive!) How many times have you heard let’s go after the low hanging fruit? Who are those people that need your product/service? The ones you can sell to first? It can be really expensive if you don’t go after these folks. You may be missing an opportunity if you haven’t addressed who your low hanging ‘trees’ are.
  3. When bush hogging a ditch, make sure your bucket is up. There are always ditches out there. There are pitfalls, roadblocks, and things you have to figure out how to get through without tipping over your tractor. You may need a new plan or strategy to get through the ditch. Watch out for those pitfalls and adjust accordingly.
  4. Remember the 80/20 rule – The middle of the field is 80% of the work and 20% is details. In bush hogging, you have to know how to put the tractor in reverse and watch out for the pond, or miss the gravestones along the side. The 20% can take up more time than the 80% because it requires more skill. With marketing, it’s the same. Maybe youcan do Social Media, but it takes so much time you’re not able to get to the middle of your field of expertise. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
  5. Watch out for the horses – Don’t hit the horses. Sounds easy enough, right? When you aren’t watching where you going you will slam into a roadblock. Always keep your eye on your end goal. Is it working? If not, tweak the plan and adjust, just make sure to watch where you’re going!

Bush hogging gave me a peaceful place to sit back, just me and the tractor, watching the progress of row after row getting cut. I look forward to many more nights bush hogging and getting to that peaceful place. And, not to brag, but I did get an honorary degree from the Ardmore School of Bush Hogging, along with a souvenir. (Ok I’ll admit it, I’m pretty proud of this!) If you have never driven a tractor, give it a go! You may develop some new skills while being ‘stuck’ at home.

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