I have read several times that the bible contains all the most important business lessons you may ever want to know. A lot of business intelligence and social intelligence books I have read make reference to lessons from the bible. Two of such books I would recommend are The Road Less Traveled, and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People Series. So I went lesson gleaning from one of my favourite stories in the bible; the story of the marriage between Ruth and Boaz.
Below are some key marketing points to be learnt.
1. Be Visible:
When Naomi learnt that Ruth had worked in the field of Boaz, a close family relative, and the invitation from Boaz to Ruth for her to continue to work in his field, she advised her to continue to work in the field and to stay close to the women in the field. Boaz’s invitation to Ruth was for her to remain with his harvesters; Naomi’s was for her to stay with the women. In business, be in the right company, stay where you can be easily found. Your association can affect how you are seen. So make sure you keep the right company. Ruth needed work, so being with the harvesters was good. But Ruth also needed the protection of a man, so she needed to be with the women. When the men go looking for women, they don’t go to where the harvesters are, they go to where the women are.
Naomi, being a sharp woman, recognized the opportunity in Boaz being a possible husband for Ruth. When one of the harvest seasons ended and there was to be a party, Naomi went a step further by helping Ruth package properly. She tells Ruth “take a bath, put on perfume and dress in your nicest dress”. In Nigeria we have the saying that the eyes will eat first before the mouth. Your packaging matters. Brands come with “New and improved packaging”, ladies take out their time to look good so as to stand out from the crowd. Whatever business you may be pursuing, your packaging must be able to catch the attention of your target. And for ladies and guys, packaging includes how you smell, so take a cue from Ruth and put on a good perfume
it is possible to do a good thing at the wrong time, launch a wonderful product at the wrong time or start a great conversation at the wrong time. Lesson; pay attention to timing. Naomi tells Ruth, “don’t let Boaz see you till he has finished eating and drinking”. In life and in business, the chances of being heard and understood improves when noise and clutter is reduced and attention is increased. If Ruth had appeared before the eating and drinking was over, she would have had to compete with the discussion of how the harvest season was. If she had appeared at meal time, well, the guys would be eating. But after eating and drinking, after all the hard discussions, when it was time to really relax, she would have the full attention of Boaz. Don’t start a business conversation or send a business proposal when your target is distracted.
there is a reason why consumer goods (FMCGs) like to maintain eye level on the shopping shelves. It is for improved visibility. There is also a reason why they would go a step further to build associations with the passion and interest of their targets. It is for positioning. Positioning does two things; improves visibility and persuades emotionally as one of your things (a sense of ownership and belonging). Naomi tells Ruth, “When you see him slipping off to sleep, watch where he lies down and then go there. Lie at his feet to let him know that you are available to him for marriage. Then wait and see what he says. He’ll tell you what to do”. In marketing, Positioning is everything. It drives your visibility and perception, it guides your packaging, it changes the equation of timing, it determines your association. Ruth had one mission at the party, let this man know that she was interested in him. I remember a pastor once advising ladies to sometimes help the men in their lives. Some men are like Boaz, they like you, but they are too worried that you would say no to their proposal that they don’t ever get to ask you out. If you know any of such, take the bold step and ask them out. Ruth needed to be in the right place, the right time and send the right signals to Boaz. In business, don’t be vague at the action you want your target to take. All the steps you take and associations you make should hint at the desired action.
5. Just do it:
Nike says “Just do it”. I agree with them. Many times we plan and prepare and even rehearse, but never step out of our comfort zone and take action. Sometimes it is indecision, other times it is fear of competition and the unknown. For entrepreneurs, it is money to start the business and worry that it may not do well. But like Ruth and Boaz, just do it. Ruth made up her mind early to follow Naomi everywhere she went. She accepted Naomi as her mother and teacher in the matters of love and getting a man, and she followed every advice of Naomi. And finally, when the Boaz learnt that Ruth liked him (of which the man actually also liked her), he took action. Procrastination steals time and victories. Just do it. There will always be a lesson to be learnt, whether the experience was good or bad, there is a lesson to be learnt.
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