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Marketing So Organic, It's Fungal

by Jeremy Nulik

If you venture into the woods this time of year, do not be surprised to find people far from the beaten path tromping through brush. With their eyes wide and baskets in hand, they scan the ground. They are hunters, and their prey is not a beast, but, rather, a fungus - the illusive morel.

Morels only emerge when exact conditions in soil temperature, sunlight and moisture are met. And the mushroom’s market value reflects this - a restaurant will pay a premium for them. Their high value is based both on what it takes to find them and their unique flavor profile.

However, the mushroom is only a small part of the fungus. Most of the organism is a giant, underground mycelium. This underground network can be vast (acres in size), and it can live and breathe in the earth for thousands of years.

Most of the fungus is not visible above ground, and it’s not reliant upon soil temperature or even the presence of ideal circumstances. It is ruddy, ugly, earthly mycelium.

I use this metaphor not to inspire mycological pursuit. Rather, I implore you to see your communications efforts much like organic fungus in the natural world. Sincerely.

Business owners spend a great deal of time trying to find the next marketing thing that will solve their communication ills. However, most of the real work of marketing is done beneath the surface. Focusing on this aspect of your communications is a better use of your energy than tromping through the weeds looking for an illusive solution.

Building your support network each day will yield greater results than what appear to be shiny quick marketing fixes – social media, blogging, networking and advertising. These pursuits are important. But they are hollow unless the inside work is complete.

Here are just a few fruitful practices you, as a leader, can do starting today regardless of conditions and the payoff can last:

Construct your startup myth. You came from somewhere and have beaten odds. Putting this story down will have a profound affect on how you see the future.

Put words and images to your vision. Write the story of who and what you are in ten years from now. Create it like a story. What is your day like? Who is there? How do they feel?

Write your values. With a pen and paper. Sleep on it. Wake the next day and write them again. Ask your trusted network for feedback.

Make a weekly unreasonable request. Call that inspiring author or your entrepreneurial hero. Ask for a meeting or a conversation. And be brave – this is the literal part of your network.

If done thoughtfully, the results of this pursuit support every aspect of your business. Marketing is supposed to help accomplish business goals and serve as more than pretty pictures on Instagram. Dig in. Great marketing is an inside job.

Jeremy Nulik (jeremy@bigwidesky.com) is evangelist prime at bigwidesky, a design futures agency, in St. Louis, Mo.
Submitted 8 years 84 days ago
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