“To me, marketing is about values. This is a very complicated world, it’s a very noisy world. And we’re not going to get the chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us.”

Steve Jobs

The first time I wandered into the Dallas Farmer’s Market, I felt like I’d been dropped into a particularly dramatic episode of a soap opera—everywhere I turned, there was a spectacle. A vendor to my left was passionately defending the freshness of his fish, while another to my right tried to persuade me that a polka-dotted teapot was essential for iced tea parties. (Admittedly, I was intrigued.)

Imagine, amidst this symphony of sales pitches, catching the faint strains of a lone violinist. He’s not situated on the main stage, nor is he dramatically lit up with neon signs. But there, right in the corner, his simple tune slices through the commotion. It beckons, it entrances, and you, my dear friend, have been serenaded by the sweet sound of marketing genius.

Marketing isn’t about wearing the loudest Hawaiian shirt in the room or doing the cha-cha while juggling fire torches (though, if you can do that, I’m thoroughly impressed). No, it’s about being that lone violinist. It’s the resonating hum that, even if you tried, you just can’t shake off.

In our current age, with gadgets that beep, apps that buzz, and videos that autoplay the moment you even think about them, it’s a wonder we remember our own names, let alone the slogan of a detergent brand. We’ve become masters at sifting through an overload of information in the span of mere seconds. So, what are you going to do with that fleeting moment when someone’s gaze momentarily rests on your product? Serenade them with a symphony? No. You’ve got just enough time to pluck one string, one note. The question is, which note?

I sometimes wonder, if life were a market, and each of us a stall, what would our tune be? How would we entice amidst the din? But that’s philosophy and perhaps best saved for another time (or for after a couple of glasses of wine). For now, let’s just say: in a bustling world of forget-me-nots, make sure your note is the one that’s hummed long after the song is done. Play it with heart, play it with purpose, and who knows? You might just find a crowd gathering, eager to hear more.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.