You Can’t Fill Your Stomach on Low-Hanging Fruit

If you’re standing under an apple tree, and you want one apple, you do the obvious thing: You take the apple that’s easiest to pick.

You don’t climb the tree, risking your life and ruining your sweater on the branches as you get to the top.

You take the low-hanging fruit.

It’s an excellent metaphor. Marketers love to talk about low-hanging fruit. Low-hanging fruit is great because it’s tasty and easy to get.

But there’s rarely enough low-hanging fruit. That’s just the kind of world we live in. Trees don’t care about the fruit picker’s convenience.

Organizations have low-hanging fruit, too. These are customers or potential customers that are easy to reach, who know you and maybe even love you. They get what you’re all about and everything you do makes sense. You can reach them with an email or a phone call or a TV ad or whatever.

But they’re aren’t enough of them. So you climb higher in the tree, or you get a ladder or a fruit picking pole or a really tall friend. If you do this, you notice that it’s much harder to get the same amount of fruit as before. It takes money, sweat, time and you’re probably going to ruin that sweater.

Some marketers make a mistake of thinking that the difficulty of reaching those higher-up apples is a reflection on their skill as a marketer. Nah. That’s just how it is. You can reach some people better and more cheaply than you can reach others.

Hell, you could be a local dance company with a modest audience, and you’ve got at least SOME people who are easier for you to reach than for Google, the mighty, mighty Google, to reach!

So what do you do about this? Spend more and more money or work harder and harder? Sure, you can do that, but there’s an alternative, too.

Let others harvest their low-hanging fruit on your behalf.

They’ve got trees too, and those trees generally have different apples from yours. It’s easy for them to reach their people, just like it’s easy for you to reach yours.

Today, with traditional and even most digital marketing channels decreasingly effective, one of the very smartest tactics in a marketer’s playbook is to get others to reach their audience on your behalf.

That’s what a strong marketer does. A weaker marketer presses on, climbing higher and higher in the tree, at greater time and expense, to pick fewer and fewer apples. The goal isn’t to climb the tree. It’s to get apples.

The future is about attention. Whoever has the attention of a valuable audience has value. You can figure out how best to direct the attention of that audience to your benefit.

That’s what marketing is about now, not showing ads to strangers.

It’s relatively easy, cost-effective and delivers you exactly what you want. The smart marketers in live entertainment have figured this out for a while now, and just about everyone has begun to catch on.

Now get down off that ladder … it’s dangerous!

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