New Guidelines for Marketing Partnerships: Borrow from Jazz Improv
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I’m writing this on Sunday morning and so what better musical accompaniment than the gospel underpinnings of pianist Les McCann playing his tune The Shampoo in a live recording. I first heard this rousing number back in the 60’s when Cousin Sydney was introducing me to the joys of jazz and blues.
Having listened to jazz now for more than 40 years, I’ve learned something about improvisation and the creativity it requires and inspires that I try to apply elsewhere in my life. Great jazz improvisers draw from a huge body of common knowledge, structure and rules and then add their own ideas, drawing from personal experience and technical skill. The musicians in a jazz combo listen to each other carefully and build on each others’ ideas.
The same group can play the same tune 50 times and it will be a new song each and every time. Listen to another group play the song and it will be something else again.
As the marketing and PR world changes I find myself seeking to build new and different kinds of professional connections. More and more, I think about how jazz music is made as I build business relationships and partnerships for my E.R. Becker Company consultancy. Bringing a complex array of inbound marketing tools and techniques to clients, requires a variety of knowledge and skills and the ability to compose well-structured original material for a new and evolving area of marketing; arranging ‘charts’ – as jazzmen call orchestrations — for unchartered waters.
So here’s what I ask myself as I think about which other professionals to bring to the table to meet client objectives:
- Who has the fundamentals down?
- Who is really talented?
- Who is curious enough to explore new ideas?
- Who really and truly listens?
- Who has the chops to play triple time to the end of the song?
- Who can jump into a group and shine while creating space for – and even amplifying the light — of others’ contributions?
- Who gets it that combined creativity is more powerful than ego-driven efforts?
How are you looking at your business partnerships these days?
Enjoy and see you soon!
Photo Credit: Jeff Levine