Can we get a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T up in here?

I’ve been a bit of a TED junkie lately. Starting your own business, for most people I’d assume, results in some navel gazing. You know, like “what is my role on this earth?”, “how am I different than everyone else on LinkedIn?”. You know, the important questions that may or may not cause you to run out and buy a motorcycle. TED’s great for that stuff. I find the videos cross my path when I need to see them. Anyway…

Enter: Ernesto Sirolli. He works in sustainable economic development. The sustainable part is the magic. It requires a respect for the people he’s trying to help and the self-control to respond rather than initiate. Dig it:

Oh hai, big huge lessons.

I think that many companies (read: people working on behalf of companies) could apply Mr. Sirolli’s thinking to how they market. Most marketing starts with the company and/or their product. Where’s the respect in that? If companies step back to understand their audience and deliver a solution to a problem their audience has, then the companies’ marketing resonates. You’ve got to solve a problem folks.  And you’ve got to respect the audience. Respond, don’t initiate. Oh honey, I can get so preachy about this stuff.

There’s a lesson here for me too. And it has to do with telling people what you believe, not what you do. I’ve got a business to run and marketing to do. Just reaching out to the marketplace and asking what people need doesn’t work that well. Respect, yes; but scale? Not so much. Sharing what I believe, finding my fellow-believers and then asking what they need (or better yet, listening to them talk about their challenges); that’s the magic formula. It’s the Sinek-Sirolli 1-2 approach.