My Rabbi used to quote White Men Can't Jump. Yup, religious figure, beard and all, teaching Torah, Talmud and ethics on the collegiate and post-graduate level, quoting Wesley Snipes as Sidney Deane. Gotta love it. But the lesson was a good one, and one we can apply to marketing especially."Look man, you can listen to Jimi but you can't hear him. There's a difference man. Just because you're listening to him doesn't mean you're hearing him."
My Rabbi would use this quote to illustrate the difference between listening to a lecture, and internalizing it. But in a marketing context this lesson is true as well.
There's a fine yet drastic line between listening and hearing. You can listen all you want. You can pay vendors and agencies to gather the number and even find the insights. But if you aren't setup to hear, you are only beginning to scratch the surface.
Listening tells you what they said.
Hearing is the internalization of everything you've heard.
It's far easier to pay someone to listen than it is to make what you've heard real. Hearing requires an organizational mind-shift from telling to hearing. Hearing requires both (a) the setup or utilization of an infrastructure to facilitate sharing of listening, and (b) the collaborative acceptance and strategic response to what you've heard.
Technology can give your brand ears. But until you're ready to make it real, you are only listening.
Technology listens. People hear.