It’s elementary: The Sherlock Holmes approach to marketing your business

Holmes and Watson from Elementary (Image

Holmes (Johnny Lee Miller) and Watson (Lucy Lui) from Elementary on Channel Ten (Image

The approach Sherlock Holmes takes to solving crimes is precisely the approach we need to take when considering what messages to share in our marketing.

From the original Holmes in the Arthur Conan Doyle novels, to the modern day Holmes in Channel Ten’s Elementary, we have much to learn from this master of observation.

In her recent book, How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes, Maria Konnikova argues that Holmes’ powers of deduction rest upon his ability to see what the rest of us don’t notice.

Perhaps the most famous example of Holmes’ powers of observation come from a discussion between Scotland Yard detective, Gregory, and Holmes himself in Silver Blaze.

Gregory: “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”

Similarly, the host of the podcast, Point Of Inquiry, Chris Mooney, shared while interviewing Konnikova, that as a former birdwatcher, he cannot help but notice birds everywhere, while walking city streets or taking public transport.

He sees them huddled under eaves, foraging on the ground and generally going about their lives invisible to the rest of us.

They agreed this was due to the habits of observation developed over years of training in the field of bird watching, fuelled by enthusiasm and interest.

If we think about this from a business perspective, don’t YOU see things related to your field of expertise that your clients and the general public overlook?

Your lens of expertise is what we need

I will argue that you view the world through the prism of your expertise:

  • a real estate photographer notices helpful and unhelpful trees, shadows and fixtures
  • a tailor notices aspects of your body type that will limit or suggest certain design options
  • a road engineer notices water erosion and gradients, vegetation and variations in soil type, spotting optimal channels for forging a road that you and would miss

As a marketer who constantly works with clients to help them discern and shape content marketing strategies and plans, I spend a lot of time helping people see the market value of their own, day-to-day insights.

It is the very fact that YOU see the world the way you do that makes you VALUABLE to us when we seek your products or services.

For some fields, we know to look for you and know what questions to ask; content in these fields can often relate to all the various questions related to the selection, use, and benefits your particular products and services.

For others, we have no idea we need you, or that your product or service exists; content in these fields is best focused on finding and answering questions signal we have needs in your area and that your product or service might be a solution.

Sometimes your marketing can mean life or death

tess atie serving clients on an outback tour

Tess Atie from Northern Territory Indigenous Tours

Perhaps a most extreme example of how much we all rely on your expertise and specialised world view can be found in outback tour guides like Tess Atie from Northern Territory Indigenous Tours.

Tess was telling me about pride and joy she finds in leading small groups on treks through her country.

At some point during one of her tours, she will stop the walking party and announce that everyone is standing right in the middle of their tucker for the night.

People look around, bewildered because it just looks like scrub to them; to tess it looks like a supermarket shelf.

As she reaches down and uproots an innocuous looking plant, she introduces her clients to the delicacy of freshly picked yams.

Suddenly, she reveals other treats, and as she does, her clients begin seeing the Australian landscape with fresh eyes.

Such a raised awareness can be the difference between life and death out in the bush.

But I will argue that your sharing of simple insights from your area of expertise as part of your marketing strategy will have those potential of being life changing for your clients; and your organisation.

What are two or three things you notice all the time that always surprise your clients or potential clients? These might be a good place to start.



1 Comment

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  1. Northern Territory Indigenous Tours is a logical choice: It’s elementary, dear Watson | The RITE Series | Regional Insights Top End - [...] The article in question is entitled, It’s elementary: The Sherlock Holmes approach to marketing your business. [...]

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