The customer won’t listen: advice for modern marketers

In 1987, The Smiths released a compilation album, The World Won't Listen. The title was born from Morrissey's frustration that the band hadn't reached the mainstream success he wanted.

In the UK, it reached number two in the charts. People who already listened to The Smiths loved The World Won't Listen. But the critics didn't. Nor did the world at large.

In fact, this collection of singles, B-sides, and re-recordings only got to number 62 in the American charts. The reason? It was a piece of content the world didn't ask for. Or want. Because while Morrissey had done a lot of talking, he hadn't done much listening. And whether you're a musician or a Microsoft partner, it's the same. To appeal to a new audience, it's you who has to do the listening.

The power of listening

Morrissey was right about one thing. We seem to have forgotten how to listen. And that's particularly true of modern marketing. There's lots of noise, but not always much insight.

The thing is, customers have more autonomy than they did in 1987. This is their self-directed, opt-in world. And they're very comfortable exploring the customer journey by themselves. A report from IDC and Salesforce revealed that 83% of customers are only going to pay attention to something relevant and contextual.

And relevant and contextual depends on insight. It's the insight that makes us really valuable to our customers. It's the insight that'll make them sit up and pay attention. It's the insight that turns a compilation album into a greatest hit. Otherwise, we're just creating lots of content and hoping we catch the customer at the right time. Talking more than we're listening.

To get insight, we need to be listening twice as much as we talk. So how can you make sure you are?

How to have conversations that count

Modern marketing should be listening, talking, and assessing - in that order.


After all, says Pardot, only 17% of B2B leads are sales-ready when you first get them. For the rest, you've got to keep your ear to the ground and find the right time to reach out. Stay in touch. Follow their social media feeds. And get in touch with your peers on the UK exclusive Microsoft Partner Concierge channel to hear about their experiences, too.


For any partner, but especially those constrained by budgets, every communication has to count. How do you know your content is going to hit its mark? Well, that's where our Smart Partner Marketing resources can help. Take a look here. Wherever you are in your marketing development journey, there's something to help maximise the impact of what you're saying.


How did you do? What did your customers see when you approached them? What did they hear when you talked? Listen to the experts at Maya to find out. This quick test rates your web, blog, and social marketing so you can see what your customers saw - and spot areas of improvement for conversations to come.

If you listen to what they want, respond with relevance and context, and assess your outgoing marketing, you'll earn customers' attention. Then, says Demand Gen Report, 90% of customers will find you when they're ready. And we'll be ready to support you when they do.

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