What does making paper hats have to do with marketing?


At a networking meeting recently we were all paired up and asked to sit with our backs to each other. One of us was given a piece of paper on which were diagrammatic instructions and the other person was given a plain sheet of paper. The ‘leader’ had to give their partner the instructions on the sheet. They weren’t allowed to show them what was on their sheet on the paper; they weren’t allowed to check that they’d understood the instructions, because their partners weren’t allowed to speak. No questions, no clarification. And we only had about a minute for this exercise.

So how did we get on? The thing that my partner and I managed to create looked a bit like a paper boat. It was supposed to be a hat, so we weren’t a million miles off, but it still wasn’t right.

So what went wrong? The first issue was that, as the ‘leader’ I never actually told my partner what we were supposed to be building! He didn’t know  what the overall objective was. Secondly, the instructions were one way, so I wasn’t able to check with my partner that he understood what I was saying to him. He wasn’t able to ask me questions about what I was saying or make any suggestions as to a better way of creating the hat.

So what does this have to do with marketing?

Do you know where you’re heading? Do you have a clear objective for your business and your marketing? If you don’t know that you’re trying to build a hat, you could end up with a boat!

Is your marketing a one way conversation? If you just keep pushing marketing messages out into the world, without asking for or receiving and feedback, how do you know that your message is hitting the spot? If you don’t allow conversation in your marketing, you won’t be able to get to know your prospective clients and find out more about what they need from you.

And finally, if you don’t let them suggest better ways of doing things, you could miss out on some really great opportunities. If you let them, your clients will tell you what they need you to do for them and how much they want to pay you to do it.

So the next time you think about your marketing and the messages you’re sending out, think about the paper hat that you’re trying to make!

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3 Responses

  1. Great ideas, I learned a lot from this.

  2. This is a great reminder. Thank you.

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