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What if we just listened?


A lot has gone on south of our border in the past few weeks.

During this time, Black Lives Matter has shone a light on protests against systemic racism and police brutality in America’s black and under-served communities.  These protests have spread to other parts of the world too, including Canada.  They’ve been uplifting and inspiring, potent and powerful, at times messy and uncomfortable.

All of these things at once.

It’s left me wondering.  How do I sum up my own feelings on this?  What words do I use, should I use?  And are they in any way appropriate or meaningful?

I’ve thought about it.  And I’ve concluded I’m missing the point.

This issue – one of the most important of our generation – isn’t about me and what I say right now.  It’s about the protestors and what they’re saying.  And do I understand?  Am I hearing them clearly?

So maybe I should just LISTEN.

As Martin Luther King said, “A riot is the language of the unheard.”

We can all be better listeners.  

Even in our marketing.

Marketing is about influencing perceptions and behaviour.  We’re trying to interest people in whatever it is we offer – a product or service, a solution to their problem, an opportunity that excites them.

But we often miss the mark, especially if we’re long on talk and short on listening.  When this happens, we don’t fully get to our audience’s real concerns.

We just think we do.

Listening is much more than hearing what people say.  It’s being curious about what they care most about and having the empathy to understand what they’re really going through.

The best marketers are deep listeners. 

  1. They hear the concerns of their audience.
  2. They ask questions for a greater understanding of the real concern.
  3. And then they listen some more.

Yes, we hear what the protestors are saying.

But do we understand how they really feel?

So ask yourself:

  1. Are you long on listening?
  2. Are you hearing the real concerns?


As the father of two daughters, 16 and 21, I’ve learned that “listening for the real concern” is useful at home too.

~ Craig