Jordan Ogren

March 28, 2022

A story about sandcastles and what marketing is truly about.

“The solution is not to try to convince your people that what you made is awesome, it’s to make better stuff.” — Jonathon Stark.

Marketing is not convincing people to care. Marketing is finding the right people and sharing with them something worth caring about.

To illustrate that, let me share a story from my lifeguarding days.

Toward the end of every summer, our swim lessons would have a huge party. Of course, part of that party would be a sandcastle competition.

There would always be a group of kids (usually boys) who would build the shittiest sandcastle and spend the rest of the time trying to get people to look at theirs.

While a group of girls next to them worked like working ants, building the best castle on the beach. They never once turned to try and get people to look; they focused on crafting the best sandcastle.

What would inevitably happen is that as kids finished, they would gravitate to watch them in awe build the best castle. Their hard work and skill level drew eyeballs.

They didn’t focus on telling people to look; they concentrated on building the best sandcastle, which drew in (marketing) more people than the boys whose sandcastle looked like a drunken sailor made it.

Not only would the girls get the most attention, but they would also usually win the competition. 

Which group do you find yourself in?

Are you more focused on telling people about what you’re building and how great it is (“We have product-market fit!” Or “This will solve all your problems!”).

Or are you focused on listening to customers, learning from them, and making a better and better product?

You can’t do both at the same time. You must pick.

For me, it’s focusing on building something awesome that naturally pulls the right people in. 

When you do that, marketing looks a lot different and more effortless.

🧠 + ❤️ // JO

P.S. If you want to read Jonathan discuss this in more depth, click here: