Marketing Vs Owning Relationships

The reason most companies and people have a challenge with their marketing efforts is that they’re trying to market and not own a relationship. 2013-06-05 17.36.15

I found myself wandering through Boston’s Faneuil Hall the other day and happened upon the band, the Ballroom Thieves playing for a crowd. I love watching musicians in street situations, because I learn a lot about pure business from them. They need to get someone’s attention, wow them enough to motivate that person to put a hand into their pocket, and earn some money. It’s pure marketing and pure sales at its best. And when it’s done right, it’s relationship building.

Marketing Is an Action

Getting me to sign up for a mailing list is an action. Having your CDs prominently displayed with a simple pricing placard is an action. Making just a tiny bit of eye contact when my cash goes into your little box is an action. That’s what people do. It’s part of it. You have to do all that.

Relationships Are About Ownership

Last night, Rachel Gawell from The Ballroom Thieves reached out to me specifically on Twitter and asked if I’d be at their show coming up. I had somehow thought the show was on another night, so I would have missed it, even if I remembered. But because Rachel took the extra step of making a point of connecting with me, one on one, I’ll be seeing the Ballroom Thieves tonight.

But think about this: I’m just one schmoe in the crowd. Granted, I’m a schmoe with an audience, so let’s not discount that. But just scanning the rest of Rachel’s tweets, she’s doing the work. She’s connecting, reaching out, looking for ways to build up the other bands she supports, and help the venues she works in and beyond. She’s relationship-minded. And that’s how she uses the tools, to connect and keep relationship experiences flowing.

One Takes a Lot More Work

Marketing is all you need if you’re selling a product anyone else can buy elsewhere. I wouldn’t put a ton of work into trying to sell hot dogs, for instance. Unless, of course, I wanted a relationship, and I wanted to be the best hot dog guy in the universe, the one that comes to mind the minute you mention hot dogs the way Joe Sorge comes to mind the minute someone says burgers.

I don’t care what sized business you are. Rachel’s a musician in a three-person band. Ferg Devins represents MolsonCoors in Canada, a pretty big company, and he’s every bit about relationships. Joe’s restaurant group owns six or seven or more restaurants and he’s about relationships.

And thus, it’s a choice.

You can market, which you have to do anyway, or you can own some relationships. Not every relationship. Even some key ones.

Your results WILL vary, and that’s the point. No?

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