Now, don’t be offended by the title. I’m sure your marketing department is just fine…I’m sure they have mad skills. This post is simply to explain something that’s been on my mind as I’ve watched my three year old step daughter interact with the world.
First, to explain where I’m coming from let’s look at the definition of marketing (because well, there’s nothing like going back to the basics):
Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. (Approved October 2007)
I’ve pulled from this definition what I believe to be the most important words in today’s marketing environment.
So what can a three year old teach us about the five words above?
Anyone who has, knows or has ever been around a small child knows they have wild imaginations. Something we lose as adults when the analytical side
of our brains kick in. But the next time your around a kid, just sit back and watch them. Watch them create things with their minds that we can’t even
fathom. Watch as they draw a picture of what looks like scribbles and dots but to them is a creation of inexplicable wonder. Watch as they play with those action figures and
build magical worlds of heroes and heroines. Listen as they talk about what they want to be and where they want to go, as it is an expression of the endless possibilities they see in life. So the next time you lose inspiration on a project or hit a creative block- take note from a kid. Think outside the box. Never lose your imagination. Take a risk. Don’t take the power of creation for granted. What have you created lately that you’re proud of?
“The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible” – Arthur C Clarke, Author & Inventor
Work and play makes for fun all day!
Have you ever had a problem knowing exactly what a three year old wants, when, where, how and why? Me either. Watching a kid communicate can be fascinating. As frustrating as the stubborn, nearly narcissistic behavior can be, we always now what they are thinking. They want juice, not milk because milk comes from cows and they don’t want to take all the cow’s milk away. They fell down and now are “wounded” …you know like Mulan. They can’t take a bath right now because Dora isn’t over (but 30 seconds later when the credits roll it’s okay). They want to read 2 books at bedtime…by
themselves. Whatever it may be and whatever crazy explanation is behind it- we always know what they want. What about you? Does your audience know exactly what you’re pitching,
Who's the boss?
when, where, how and why?
Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that a three year old’s delivery is better than yours…I’ll let you make that decision for yourself. Despite the episodes of raging fits or innate need to yell “Mommy” or “Daddy” at the top of their lungs just so you can turn their light on, kids have impeccable delivery. Think about it. “I love you so much, Arin…We can have chocolate?” Notice this wasn’t phrased a question. It was more like butter me up and politely suggest in a questioning voice that we can have chocolate. Or how about “Spongebob’s on!” Notice the subtle excitement
about letting me know her favorite show is on. Or my personal favorite after doing something she’s not supposed to or causing an accident: “I’m so sorry, I’m not in trouble.” Kids know, or at least they think they know, exactly how to deliver what they are communicating to get what they want from us. Again, there is a degree of narcissism we can leave out as adults. But, when’s the last time you thought about the delivery of your message?
Exchange: To give and receive reciprocally. Who better to know the power of exchanging than a three year old, who, thus far in life, has built relationships on reward systems and give and take. Eat half of your peas and you get a piece of candy. Go potty all day an
Smile. It will make someone's day.
d get a cupcake. Be good all year and get sweet presents from Santa. Kids know what they are doing when it comes to exchange. Have you ever seen a three year old perk up when negotiating exchange? The excitement they get out of getting that toy for helping daddy clean the yard or that piece of candy for eating all their veggies, is unmatched by us as adults. Do we really believe what we have is worth the exchange? If so, what would happen if we got as excited about landing that client as a three year old does about candy?
Recently, my step daughter slammed an entire cup of milk. Not a big deal for most three year olds except she swears she doesn’t like milk. So why did she drink it? She saw the value. After drinking it in maybe three huge gulps (undoubtedly to get through it as quickly and painlessly as possible), she says “Now I will get big and I will be a big girl.” Now, did she really know that what they mean is that milk will gradually build your bones and keep you healthy as you grow up? No. She more than likely thought she would wake up in the morning two feet taller and in school already. But that’s beside the point. Children see value in the most miniscule of things we take for granted daily. Whether it be milk making them big and strong, pushing the bubble mower across the lawn to help daddy keep it nice and neat or keeping lights off to save “nergi” (that’s energy for those of you who don’t speak three year old), kids are very aware of the value of what they do on a daily basis. Do we? Are we sitting back and making sure what we do is of value to our clients, company’s, and networks?
I hope you found value in the little reminders I provided here. And remember, the next time your around a child, pay attention. You just might learn something.
Until we meet again,