The water hose and the rain cloud

The disciplines of marketing and sales need to unlearn their most fundamental principle: That marketing and sales are about disseminating information.

The accepted views of marketing and sales look something like this: Marketing is a rain cloud, showering information down on the marketplace. And sales is a water hose, spraying information at specific customers.

Marketing is not a rain cloud, and sales is not a water hose. If you get people wet, they will duck. They will not listen.

Marketing and sales are not about spraying your stories at customers. They are about creating engaging stories in your customers’ mind, stories in which you figure as an important character.

Stop showering your customers with information. Start engaging them in conversations

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Posted in Conversation, Marketing
7 comments on “The water hose and the rain cloud
  1. Larry Kaufman says:

    I would adjust your metaphor slightly, to suggest that marketing involves listening to your customers’ stories, and then creating stories in which THEY figure as important characters.

  2. Great point Larry … the essence of “We” is that the customer sees both of you, intertwined, in her story.

  3. Tom McCallum says:

    Engaging with customers rather than dicating to them.

    I was just interviewed by a journalist and spoke on this today. He hit the nail on the head when he said “so, people are scared and don’t know what to do”. Boom !

    With reference to larger organisations, part of the problem is who they are taking their advice from… typically the agencies they’ve hired to help them.

    Now picture this, a room full of people from :
    – Advertising
    – Creative
    – PR
    – Media Buying
    – Web design
    etc

    Most senior people in those fields will have come up in the business before the internet took a firm grip on communications of all types and will still be struggling to catch up.

    Now imagine how scary it must be to now be confronted with the incredibly rapid shifts that social media is unleashing.

    Human nature is to be defensive and conservative in our actions and thoughts when we are scared.

    Who, then, is going to advise large organisations effectively on how to, as I put it in a recent blog, “reinvent.. or die” ?

  4. Tom … sounds like the Darwinian Marketing Revolution is here!

  5. Tom McCallum says:

    Steve,

    Evolutions of the Species wasn’t accepted as “conventional wisdom” for quite some time (and not even yet, in certain circles.. sigh), so whilst some of us know it to be true, the question is.. how do we get through to those who need to hear it ?

    I seem to find that those who wish to retain “look ahead” marketing consultants who are already themselves among the more forward thinking, so they can get ROI from our advice, but the real returns would be from those who are nowhere near getting it.. but hey, we all know they won’t hire us at this stage in the evolutionary cycle ! 🙂

  6. Amy says:

    I would adjust your metaphor slightly, to suggest that marketing involves listening to your customers’ stories, and then creating stories in which THEY figure as important characters.

    • No doubt, Amy. The next level is when the customer’s frame of reference is his/her We relationship with you … when you both, together, figure as important characters in the story. Thanks.

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