Getting Religion

June 23, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, Brian Gracely, a member of my network, suggested I blog my thoughts on how Summit has helped companies that have great technology, but a hardcore engineering (non-marketing) culture, adopt a strong marketing strategy and become more successful in the market. He was curious how we sell the change.  How do we get the culture to adopt it?  How does it get measured?

I immediately loved the topic, but alas my now entrenched style of ‘begin with a life experience and turn it into a business lesson’ kept me from employing it—until now.

This past weekend my NBC (No Book Club) spent a long weekend at Wrightsville Beach.  Nine women – mothers, non-mothers, scientists, therapists, school teachers, doctors, business owners, married, divorced, single, healthy, sick, 25-45 years old—all with one common thread; a mutual respect, admiration and non-judgmental flair for having fun.

One morning over coffee, one in the group decided to lead a prayer/bible study session.  I know, I know – a taboo topic.  She did her thing while others in the group listened—or didn’t as the case turned out to be.  She was preaching to the non-choir and try as she did (which was gentle) she could not get any converts. 

I had an epiphany:  I have been in my friend’s shoes many a time in conference rooms full of technologists, engineers and scientists.  No matter how I frame it or which words I choose, it sounds like I’m speaking in tongues to the non-believers.  Fortunately for me, what I am requesting my customers buy into doesn’t determine their after-life residence. 

Do you want to shake the non-believer?  Convert the skeptic?  Start small.

  • Define a project. Use their language, if possible.
  • Share the risk, if you can. 
  • Outline the metrics upfront and make sure each one of the members agrees to the definition of success. 
  • Report your findings and outcomes.  
  • Post-mortem the lessons learned to continue to grow your marketing flock.
  • Success is a wonderful converter, so merchandise your wins back to the customer.

Don’t be the lone voice in the wilderness – invite your faithful to have a little MarketingSmack! Get yours today at www.marketingsmack.wordpress.com.

Or, visit us at: www.summitstrategypartners.com.

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4 Responses to “Getting Religion”


  1. Nice work Jack. Once again you’ve done a great job taking a complex idea and related it to an experience we can all understand.

  2. Lisa Ikegami Says:

    Interesting point of view, and you hit the nail on the head about the languages. I have a personal theory that all religions are messages which say the exact same thing in different “languages”. The problem becomes communication. And the key is learning your audience’s respective language. (i.e., when Pete pitched a building project to a blind client, instead of drawings, he built a tactile model and labeled it in braille.) You have to put yourself in their shoes…..


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