sly : marketing

The Sound of Marketing

This morning, at 7 a.m., a loud intense noise reminded me of the importance of marketing.

I live close to my neighbors, only a small yard is between our houses.

This morning I didn’t hear the sound of birds. I didn’t hear people talking, or dogs barking. The sound reminded me of a chainsaw. Then, when I opened the door, I was staring at, well, this:

My neighbors yard this morning

I was standing on the porch watching all the men working in my neighbors yard and I thought for a few seconds that maybe I wasn’t entirely awake. Unfortunately, I was.

I decided to return to the kitchen and finish my breakfast while listening to this unbearable sound.

I felt I had a problem, well, only a minor one, but nonetheless, it felt like a problem.

A few minutes later, as I was looking at the empty bowl of cereal, a lot more happened.

My neighbor wasn’t home. His car was replaced by another vehicle, a red tractor.

A tractor in my neighbors yard

I opened the door once more, walked outside to get a closer look, and started to think about permission marketing, the book by Seth Godin. Then, I thought about spamming, and I thought about the importance of trust.

As a marketer, and a neighbor, I would never have hired people and started work without talking with all the neighbors first.

It’s all about asking permission. If people think they’re part of a decision process, it makes them feel good, it makes them feel like good neighbors and good friends.

If you don’t get permission, and your work involves other people, don’t do it. Well, unless you don’t care about the results or the chaos it may cause.

I’m back inside the kitchen, listening to the sound and relating it to drive by shooting. Our neighbors, the ones who hired the workers, they don’t know the effects of their decision, they have no idea what or who they’ll hit.

As a marketer, the results should be according to a strategy, as part of a marketing mix. That’s why we should build tribes and be part of a community of people who supports us and motivates us.

I don’t believe that customers or neighbors enjoys surprises, unless the surprises are rather awesome.

Sometimes, any sound, any sound at all, is the sound of marketing.

15 responses to “The Sound of Marketing”

  1. Witto says:

    I'm hearing your tinnitus Jens. Sounds like the issues going on at The World Cup at present. Maybe it's just as well for you that Norway (like my home country) didn't make it this year (am I right about Norway not being there this year.)

    Personally, I'm quite noise tolerant. Also, I suppose you have to make a call with your neighbours. Sometimes, you might just know from experience (especially with long-established neighbours) that they won't mind the noise and that there's no need to check in advance. Just a slightly different perspective. I appreciate this approach won't suit in all circumstances.

    Sometimes, you already have tacit permission. It's just important not to abuse it.

  2. Nice Relation to a real life situation. This made me laugh a little.

  3. Abel Travis says:

    Hi Jens,

    I like the post, however, I actually am a fan of the opposite. Do first, then if someone is “offended” beg for forgiveness later. I’ve found this to work effectively when growing my business. An example of this: I own a network of out of home advertising screens. When someone purchases advertising space, I automatically keep them on month after month until they request to be cancelled. The reason I do this is becasue I realized it was more of a benefit to our customer to not need to deal with another “bill, or Call” from someone. If a customer complains that we renewed their service without out their consent, we apologize and aske if they would want to stay on. 9 times out of 10 its been yes. I think as long as its ethical, and upfront with your “customers” do first, ask for forgiveness later is a better option. What do you think??

  4. FLMarky says:

    I found you on Digital Point Forums, then came here to read your blog.
    I don't mean to sound so critical since we're first meeting -but you asked for feedback, so here goes.
    Get to the point sooner.
    an “empty bowl of cereal?” — try that one again! lol!
    I disagree (IMHO) with your premise that you have to get permission from anyone else to do your work. Getting “buy-in” may have been what you were aiming for, but permission, no.
    I once had a boss tell me that if we waited for all the lights to turn green at the same time, we'd never get anywhere. I hated that guy – but he was SMART, so I listened – and learned.
    I like the IDEA: The Sound of Marketing — take another whack at that idea and see what you can come up with.
    Hope I wasn't too tough on you –
    Mark D. Brown

  5. Hi Witto,

    You're absolutely right. Norway didn't make it this year, and I'm sort of glad they didn't πŸ™‚

    I forgot to write that the neighbors have not lived here that long, and they don't talk to any of the other neighbors, hence they don't know from experience… but you make a really good point. Sometimes we just know that we have permission without asking.

    Thanks a lot.

  6. Hi Mark,

    I might be too personal, I get it.. the empty bowl of cereal was probably a little too much. I just wrote what happened, and because I enjoy stories.

    You make some great points. I like the idea of permission, but it might not be that we have to ask for permission, more that we know we already have permission, like Witto are saying.

    Thanks a lot for your comment, and no, it was perfect not too tough πŸ™‚

    Please keep in touch.

  7. Thanks a lot πŸ™‚

  8. Hi Abel,

    I agree with you if your customer understands the premise, that is, if when they purchase the advertising space, they understand they understand that they need to cancel in order to stop the advertising. If they think that they will only be advertising for a month, and they get billed for two or three months, then I'm not so sure I agree πŸ™‚

    On the other hand, if what you're saying is that you know them and you know that they'll advertise for several months because of the knowledge you have, and you also understand that this won't be a major problem for your customer, then I think I agree with you.

    To me, marketing is about being upfront with our intentions, and not hide anything. If it's a benefit to the customer, I think they need to be told this in a way that they understand what's happening before it's actually happening. This way your company will get a 100% satisfied customer… well, that's just my opinion πŸ™‚

    Thanks a lot for your comment.

  9. Brice says:

    Great article Jens, you make an excellent point.

    “I don’t believe that customers or neighbors enjoys surprises, unless the surprises are rather awesome.” – This had me laughing in the middle of the office, as well as the first picture.

    Keep them coming, your blog is great as always.

  10. Hey Brice,

    Thanks a lot. I'm a little worried that my neighbors will read this, but what the heck, if they read it they'll understand… hopefully πŸ™‚

  11. The sound of marketing? Great article with a great point. I am actually glad that I read it. I am hoping that my work right now is just mainly marketing my blog. I do not have any other ads besides Adsense on it. So, that is what my marketing is all about. Getting visitors to my blog. I am hoping that in the future after I start getting my name out there that I can start putting some Amazon ads and market them. I just feel that right now I am quite a way from that.

  12. Guru Creation says:


    Very nice sound… Only if they were knocking down your house to build you a bigger and better one, right?

    Going to get me a tracker to advertise.

  13. trust investment advisors says:

    Make sure you are OK with the worst-case scenario, but don’t let that scenario drive your investing decisions. Focus on your plan rather than the products.

  14. Roberta says:

    I have read a couple of your posts and your analogies are amazing! I especially enjoyed this post because we can all relate to the noise of an early morning mowing. Your comment really drives Seth Godin's point home about permission marketing. This paints a picture for me, so I will always remember. Seth would be proud of your post.

  15. Thanks a lot, I really appreciate this πŸ™‚

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