Oh my god! Marketers discover LISTENING!

Check this out – http://notetaker.typepad.com/cgm/2006/10/listeningcenter.html 

I’m as usual being (slightly) sarcastic — this is a really good post on the Consumer Generated Media site.  But it does re-inforce my point in the title of my blog: internal communications professionals have known for a long time the value of user-centred (employee-centred) approaches and the value of quantitative and qualitative measurement.  Suddenly The Marketers are jumping on the bandwagon.

Pete acknowledges that these ideas aren’t new and it’s great to see them coming into the debate/discussion. See Regina’s similar POV here http://blogs.bnet.com/hr/?p=378.

Remember, I work for a branding agency so I’m part of the marketing world here too.  To paraphrase Lyndon Johnson, “I’d rather be on the inside of the tent pissing out than on the outside of the tent pissing in.”

 Anyway, this brings to mind two LATERAL THOUGHTS.  One, that the whole “pitch process” agencies are put through (and let’s face it, rush to respond to) has NOTHING to do with listening.  The client says “We need an X” and all the agencies pitch up with an “X” credentials presentation.  Sometimes with some creative stuff.  A far cry from consultative selling — all about listening to what the challenge facing the client is and how the agency can help provide the best solution.

Two, the key question I ask when I interview new consultants: What are the three most important skills a consultant needs?  I run away fast if at least one of three answers doesn’t have something to do with “listening” or “asking effective questions”.  Expertise and experience are fine things, but a good questioner-listener can usually beat the expert.  Asking and listening = more information and intelligence, which leads to greater insight.



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