From marketing to farming: a no way back trip.

As I wrote on the “about me” page I’ve been forged on the fiery ranks of the marketing officers….

That makes me belong to that nerdish group of person that needs to translate business objectives into measurable goals, evaluates performances in terms of kpi, prefers ratio metrics than number metrics (if you do not get the difference, don’t worry, many of my clients won’t), often suffers from delusions of grandeur due to the power of branding, breaks out in hives if handling a no-logo item and gets excited when gains market share points!

If marketing is the science of exploring, creating, driving consumer’s needs and behaviors at a profit, yes I have been a marketer to all intents and purposes.

I’ve spent years in identifying consumer’s needs, defining and measuring their profit potential.

I’ve spent electrifying nights digging into the big-data of loyalty programs, examining and profiling clusters of custmers.

I woke up in excitement when I found a new way to expand “my items”consumption.

As a trade marketer, I’ve been a ring of the supply chain:  impressed by logistics, bewitched by distribution centers, fascinated by those thousands square foot warehouses, ready to serve thousands retailers around the world, a word that revolves around GOODS.

As a consumer, I have been affirmatively surprised and even glad to fall into the marketing traps, while shopping for my family.

I was aware of the paramount influence of marketing on our day life, and that it could have serious consequences on people’s choices, but I was really into it and for a long time I enjoyed my bag of tricks.

Some time ago, during a meeting with the product manager of a nursery food, I professionally swayed.

My mission was to find the right way to encourage excess consumption of a sort of soluble powder that could replace vegetables fibers if poured over junk foods. (no more spinach fights, dudes!)

Influencing the purchase requests of worried mums can be a peanut operation. But I said to myself, “nope! this time it’s not going to be me”.

I’m not sure if this can be considered a lack of competence and professionalism, but the boat was rocking.

Ethics is notoriously a difficult subject as everyone has personal judgments on what is “right” or “wrong”…but if marketing could affect diet and health at a profit, than this is not what I learned from Philip Kotler’s books: “The ultimate mission of our marketers’ activity is to raise the material standard of living throughout the world and the quality of life”.

I kept looking at my job from a different point of view: I wasn’t likely to contribute to negative consumption-related health outcomes among children, youth or anybody else, nor I could get any satisfaction in selling nothingness.

I lost enthusiasm (and income), start wondering if there was a market that can really benefit of what I knew and could do, without harming anybody.

That was when I met the King of Asparagus.

He appeard to me a knowledgeable farmer, a refined merchant, a sharp observer of people, life and society. As he definitely is. We had an amazing conversations about the lack of marketing issues in agriculture: both of us agreed on the need of communicating better, producing better, earning mucher…

I started thinking that I could use my tools in a different field, hopefully in the right field. I was sure that farming needed some marketing strategies and tools: broadcasting product culture and awareness, choosing organic farming as a strategy to stand out of the competition, joining producers associations etc… I was wrong on some issues, right on others, still looking for the right solutions. But that was the starting point for a life exploration, that is not finished jet, that lead me to a no-way-back trip from marketing to farming.

At the beginning, many looked at me very skeptically: I was a hight-heeled uptown girl that cannot estimate acres by eye, recognize an asparagus sprout in the field, and had no idea of what farming is in real life.

By now, I have learned much more than I have taught. And lucky me, apart from teaching and learning, my life is today a  matter of sharing!

Farming is not all about producing and selling veggies. It’s a narrative self through emotional memories (have you ever noticed that the wet earth smells of childhood memories after a summer storm?). Farming is a life choice for well-being and vitality, farming is a personal set of values and, probably, the most effective one.

I’ve been a marketer, maybe not a great one, but for sure a real marketer, and I intend to apologize for that.

2 thoughts on “From marketing to farming: a no way back trip.

    1. Thanks Giuci, you’re really supportive… and most of everything you should convert yourself… from Informatics to Maldives

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