The Non-Obvious Insights Blog. Non-Obvious Insights
The Non-Obvious Insights Blog.

Dedicated To Helping Readers
Be More Interesting
Since 2004.

As Featured In:

What The Amish Paradox Can Teach You About Marketing

IStock_000012334464XSmallLast year on a trip back to the US from South Africa, I picked up a magazine about a topic I knew very little about. It is of the common tricks I use to learn about different industries outside of the ones I work directly with – and in this case, the magazine I ended up with was called Farmer’s Weekly.

The content was as you would expect, advice for farmers on techniques, information about regulations that will affect their industry and ads for tractors and things like that. In the middle of the issue I picked up was a feature article about what the author called the “Amish Paradox”

This paradox describes the unexpected methods that the Amish use when farming their land that are working so well that they are continuing to run their farms profitably without interruption while many other farmers are struggling to make ends meet and often going under as well.  What makes the Amish technique so special?

They rotate their crops consistently (planting different items at different parts of the yar. They never use chemical fertilizers and use something called “legume-based pastures’ to keep the fertility of their land. They tend to grow smaller fruits and veggies (which some say they are tastier to). Perhaps most importantly, they do what is called “adding value” – by producing additional products such as fresh cheese.

In an industry facing increasing pressure from large industry leaders to plant more genetically modified crops, and focus on volume above all else … the Amish philosophy stands out. What can you learn from their lesson, even if you are not in farming?

  1. Stick to your ideals. For the Amish, their farm culture is mixed together with their religion and belief system. Few of our small businesses take such a principled approach, but if you do – it can help serve as a guidepost for what your business will do and how it will evolve, and what you will avoid.
  2. Think longer term. One of the biggest challenges in any business is to think of the long term and not of today. Crop rotation, for example, is a principle focused on making sure that land remains good for cultivating crops far into the future. Sometimes what it requires is passing up the opportunity to simply plant the most profitable thing every time.
  3. Avoid following the “experts.” The Amish philosophy goes against many experts in the farming industry who push for higher production and instead follows their more traditional path. This tends to draw many critics and also probably causes them to have lower revenues from their crops.  Yet this goes back to point #2 – and how your priorities tend to be different if you focus on taking care of your land for future generations instead of just maximizing profit today.

8 thoughts on “What The Amish Paradox Can Teach You About Marketing”

  1. WAZZUB is in pre-launch until April 9, 2012. The more users that join our network through your personal link the more your $FACTOR will grow. Each new member 5 generations deep let your $FACTOR grow by 1. After launch we will pay 50% of WAZZUB’s profits to our pre-launch members every month.

    Reply
  2. Thanks for sharing this great article.every times,i read you guys Article .that make me happy.I will try to write down my feelings, my ideas. i think that is by far one of the most useful things I’ve done to change my life for the best.

    Reply
  3. This is a good lesson for all us marketers. Doont get too wound up in all the gadgets and remember that letting things happen in a natural way will will almost always be rewarded.

    Also that when something works, you refine it, to get the most out of it with destroying its effectiveness.

    Reply
  4. I think we can also use this ideas for other small businesses as well. Also for me, a good online presence will really do wonders for starting businesses. A compelling website really helps a lot in generating more potential customers.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

The Non-Obvious Insights Newsletter. Non-Obvious Insights
Layer 97
The Non-Obvious Insights Newsletter
Layer 118

Skip the obvious and anticipate the future with our weekly newsletter. Join over 25,000 subscribers and start receiving the stories (and insights) you’ve been missing.

All Books

#1 WSJ & USAToday Bestselling Author

Rohit is the author of 8 books on trends, the future of business, building a more human brand with storytelling and how to create a more diverse and inclusive world.

Vector Smart Object

Contact

Have a Question or Inquiry?

Just fill out this form, and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours!

About You

What Are You Contacting Us About*:

Your Message