I want to talk to you today about the most important symbol in marketing.
Now marketing is an ancient art really if you think about it, people have been marketing things for hundreds of thousands of years.
Whether it was messages on the side of caves, stories told around campfires, whether it was signals on the ground, signals in the sky, maybe it was you know incredible texts handed down from our elders.
Whatever it was, marketing has been around for a very long time and symbolism has equally been around for a very long time.
People have tried to intuit and determine clever ways and codes of doing things in all walks of life, but especially true in marketing.
Today I know the most important symbol in marketing.
It’s a really simple one, we over complicate things, we get clever and when we talk about ego, we talk about ego in a way as if it doesn’t apply to us.
Even to me.
But the reality is we over complicate and get clever because we sit in ego.
And we have to simplify things, we have to make it easier for our customers to talk to us or our prospective customers to talk to us. Because they probably have a problem that needs a solution that we probably have. By virtue of the fact of them being prospective customers, there’s probably a reason for them to talk to us.
All our job really is in marketing is to facilitate, to create space for that conversation, to facilitate that conversation and to create the conditions under which people feel they can trust us enough to engage and talk to us in a way that means they don’t believe they’re going to be immediately pounced on and sold to.
This is a challenge for most businesses, because most businesses are in sales mode – of course, all of the time.
Most of you watching this are in sales mode most of the time.
Because you want more revenue and so you’re hungry for the deal.
That hunger and that desire to grow and to close deals and to get revenue, means that sometimes we stay in ego because we’re focused on our problems.
And the interesting challenge is, we have to be focused on our customers’ problems.
There’s no value to our customer in us talking to them about our problem, they don’t care.
They just don’t care.
We have to find a way to take ourselves out of ego, to simplify things and just to start understanding their problem.
And when we understand their problem what we get back is a conversation, because now they’re being heard, they’re being listened to, they feel valued, they feel validated, they feel understood.
It’s a very simple, simple switch and yet it’s probably the hardest thing to do for a human being.
To step away from ego and move to empathy.
And that’s what this is all really about, and the most important symbol in marketing helps us, helps me certainly and many of my clients, move from ego to empathy.
Ego is the place in which people don’t want to talk to them.
Ego is the place in which they stay in sales mode because it’s all about them.
Empathy is the place in which people do want to talk to them.
Empathy is the place in which your customers identify you are there with them.
In the immortal words of Brené Brown “you’re holding space for them to talk to you” And that creates incredible positivity in return.
If you provide your clients with that space, they will start conversing with you.
They will feel valued as opposed to sold to.
They will feel like a meaningful part of the conversation as opposed to a number on a board, a target on a list.
And there’s one really important symbol in marketing that helps you transition from ego to empathy, that helps you transition to a place where the customer is going to love you and want to talk to you more.
And that symbol is simply the question mark.
The question mark is your friend.
When you speak to your customers, you should be asking questions.
You shouldn’t be talking to them, you should be listening to them.
And it’s the power of the question mark that creates the best possible opportunity for you to listen to your customer.
Because if you ask the question in the right way and it’s relevant to them, people will find it very hard not to respond, very hard. If it’s a relevant question to their universe, if you understand your customer enough and you ask them a meaningful question, they will find it very difficult to not engage you.
That flies in the face of normal marketing and normal engagement, where they find it very easy to not engage you.
But if you flip over and start using questioning more, you will have much greater conversations and success in your marketing.
It really is that easy – just ask questions.