Is your marketing both interesting and interested?

Is your marketing both interesting and interested?

I was talking about the changing nature of marketing the other day with a client and were talking about how it is getting harder and harder to generate results via traditional approaches to marketing these days. Luckily, he is now a client and we are working together to help him get more out of his marketing. That’s a different story so back to the post.

Anyway, what we were talking about was how marketing is moving from being something that is predominantly a broadcast (ie. a one way) means of communicating with your clients to something that is becoming a more of a two-way process, a conversation, a relationship.

He asked me to explain what I meant. I then likened being in business (finding and keeping customers) to being in a relationship where, over time, apart from the obvious ones like trust, respect, liking etc that are developed there are two foundations to strong relationships:

  1. Being interested; and
  2. Being interesting

What I mean is that you might have to be, or look interesting, or show an interest in someone or something to initiate or start a conversation but it will be the act of continually being interested in your customers and/or the other person in the relationship that will be the thing that is equally important and responsible for maintaining the relationship.

I think this is playing out more and more in the business world and we are moving to a world where relationships (and two-way, mutually beneficial relationships) are the things that will drive future business growth. This is not new but more of a back to basics approach to doing business through building better relationships with those around you. This idea was captured to great effect way back in 1936 by Dale Carnegie in ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ when he said:

You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.

What is important to note here is that most, if not all, marketing methods can be both interesting and interested. What I am talking about here is more of an attitude to how you communicate (in your marketing) to those around you.

So, what I am going to do with my client, and perhaps you might find useful to do this too, is to ask the following questions of your marketing and the way you build and maintain relationships with your customers:

  • What in my marketing mix is trying to be interesting, to catch someone’s attention, to get someone interested in me?
  • What in my marketing mix is focused on the interests of my customers, being interested in them, connecting with them and helping them? and then
  • What’s the balance between the two?

What do you think? Do you think you have gaps in your interesting and interested mix?

Thanks to for the image.

30 comments On Is your marketing both interesting and interested?

  • Pingback: Julie Henderson ()

  • Hi Adrian,

    This is a great post. It captures the essence of why relationships either grow or shrink. I would imagine that the obvious human business of interest in another is where larger organisations start to draw a blank since what they know about their customers is either so thin or non existent that they immediately start to talk about themselves.

    it would be interesting to rethink what is collected in the CRM system if the main criteria was to find out something interesting/that interested each customer.

    • Hi Martin,
      That’s a really interesting extension. Sounds like a good way to start auditing a business’ relationships to identify gaps. Could be a great way to engage a business.

      If you think such an auditing exercise could yield results perhaps that is something we should discuss working on. Thoughts?


      • I do think that since Social has put ‘people’ back in the frame then many customer workflows could be re-examined from the standards of the ‘person to person’ version.

        My listening course is predicated on that insight. Your insight into engagement being a function of interest is also in the same vein. By the way I’m of the opinion that ‘loyalty’ is a misleading term and actually what we should be targeting is ‘sustained interest’ because that better describes the motivation to stay or leave a brand. Anyway another conversation.

        In answer to your question yes it’s worth it for the right ears. Evangelising is a waste of time. Exploring with like minds is worth it.
        Have a suitable client in mind?


        • Hi Martin,
          Have some ideas that may be worth exploring. Let’s take this offline and arrange to discuss sometime soon.

          Thanks for adding your thoughts here,


  • Pingback: Holly James ()

  • Great point Adrian.
    I think the internet especially opens up the possibilities of this mindset.
    Using blogs and social media, gives us the chance to put our thoughts and ideas out there, while getting feedback from the market and listening to their thoguhts.

    What do you think?

    • Hi Daniel,
      Thanks for dropping by. I think you are right that social media is opening up new opportunities to converse with our market. I guess the trick that we have to be careful of is to not use it as another platform to broadcast ideas but as a way to build and nurture relationships and conversations with our customers.

      Who have you see that does that very well?


      • My Friend (and mentor) is the marketing direktor for Burger Kind in Norway. They do this very well. They utilize multiple channels, run contests, get feedback and act on the feedback.

        • That sounds like a great example, Daniel, and I’d love to know more about it. Would you consider finding out more and maybe writing a guest post for the blog?


          • I would love to!
            I have a meeting with him in a week or two. I could ask him some questions about what they do and take some notes.

            Remind me again and I’ll try to produce a post for you 🙂
            (I’ll of course have to ask if it is okay that I mention them as a company, or if I’ll just have to write about a “made up” company.)

  • Pingback: Andrew James Whalley ()

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  • Hi Daniel,
    That’s great news!
    I’ll make a note and send you an email in a couple of weeks to ask again.

    Thanks again,


  • Pingback: bigredtomato ()

  • Nice questions Adrian — and I really the interested / interesting idea.

    The gaps in my strategy are huge and I think your point highlights something for me: The narrower your focus, the broader the appeal. If you try and be all things to all people it get very confusing and there is no way that you will be interesting. I think that his makes this process harder as it requires some very clear insight into who you are.


    • Hi Michael,
      Thank you for being so candid about this issue. I think it takes real courage to really focus on what it is you do and congratulations on realising that.

      If there is anything I can do to help just let me know.


  • Pingback: Michael Cowen ()

  • Adrian,

    Feeling as if someone is interested in me is much more appealing than someone seeing me as interesting…

    Have you studied the marketing campaign done by Lambesis for Airwalk in the early to mid-90″s? I think they accomplished exactly what you described above.

    Great topic.

    • Hi Bill,
      That’s an interesting point. I am not sure that I have come across the campaign that you mentioned. How can I learn more about it?


  • I am definitely interested, and I try to be interesting. Too mnany people think marketing is about being ‘me me me’ all the time, and more and more this is being proven wrong.

    I will be sharing this post 🙂

    • Hi Nikki,
      I think that you are right that there is a changing dynamic away from ‘broadcast’ only marketing to one that is much more two-way and relationship based.

      Thanks for dropping by, commenting and sharing 🙂


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