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violin“Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.
4 minutes later: The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.
6 minutes: A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.
10 minutes: A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly.. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.
45 minutes: The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.
1 hour: He finished playing and silence took over.. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities. The questions raised: in a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made……. How many other things are we missing?” From an anonymous email…

So, what opens up here is the question of how well are we paying attention. To ourselves, our daily life, and our customers. In fact, marketing, what I call “relational marketing” isn’t about being on twit/space/book. While a curiosity it is largely just another distraction that leads to more info overwhelm or just “la-la land” instead of real business results.

Relational marketing is about creating real, genuine relationships…not MONEY. Real relationships are NOT possible, unless we pay attention, really get inside our customer’s head and heart and understand things from their perspective. Gouging people with fear and greed based offers just hurts relationships, turns your marketing into pimp style slang and treats your customers like prostitutes.

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2 Responses to “Marketing – Reality and La-la Land”

  1. admin

    @Juan Restrepo,
    Thanks Juan. You are right. But times…they are a changin…at least I hope they are.

  2. Juan Restrepo

    When money is in the forefront of our minds, I begin to lose sight of why I do what I do. When I focus of creating value for my customers, the money follows.

    I love your correlation with treating customers like prostitutes; ugly but true. Looking at it this way, makes me feel dirty when I create something just for the money.

    Thanks for the blunt truth!


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