Farmers, I have often mentioned, are long-term thinkers and planners, and they can even remember in detail each of the seasons they have worked through.
At no time is this more evident than when I ask them, “What constitutes success?”
The Farmer’s Measure of Success
Their answers might vary a little, but they boil down to this constant theme: “To live well, work hard, and leave my land for my children better than it was given to me.”
That’s generational planning, right there. A dedication to investing in a future beyond this year, or even the next five to ten years—this is 50-year investing.
I was thinking about this the other day, when it struck me that market research is a long-term investment, too. When you’ve been around as long as I have, you can remember when farmers first asked for the gadgets they are using today. Of course they didn’t ask for a specific gadget, they asked for something that would help them reach a goal in general—tractors that steered themselves, combines that automatically adjusted, cows that could milk themselves. I had respondents ask for these things long before they were reality, because the goal was to fix a particular problem they had—the brother-in-law who couldn’t steer straight, the lack of available labor, the skill and time it took to make sure none of the corn was going out the back end.
So sometimes market research is a next-month or next-year investment, but sometimes it points the light toward a future where the possibilities are endless—and we want to set our course toward the most successful potential as a measure of success. Just like the farmers who invest in soil conservation and health today for their children to grow better crops than they ever could.
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