I’m sick of being “nurtured.”

To nurture, according to Google, is to “care for and encourage the growth or development of.”

The problem is, when a marketer is “nurturing” me, they are clearly caring for and encouraging the growth of their pipeline and revenue. Not me. Not my career. Not my business.

As marketers, we are nurturing our business, not our prospects. We are always looking for an opportunity to bring someone around to our point of view. To insert our perspective.

We focus on “helping” them solve the challenges we solve, and we approach them as if ours is the only viable solution to these problems they barely care about. And we do it with nearly everyone our path has crossed with.

This isn’t nurturing. Somewhere along the way we’ve gotten lost between the demands of the business to sell at scale and the advice to be helpful to the audience. The end result falls short on both fronts.

If we want to nurture prospects, we need to invest in their growth and development. As they grow, as they advance, as they follow advice that really does move them forward personally or professionally, our offerings should become relevant. If they don’t, we have a product problem, not a nurture program problem.

What does nurturing look like

Consider a software solution that helps Oracle database developers and administrators. If you provide perspective that helps them make use of a broader range of Oracle’s offering across their business, their implementation and system will become more complex and critical across their business. As it does, your solution becomes more and more valuable to them.

What about a business intelligence provider? Teach people how to use real-time information effectively, how to use different financial metrics and how to effectively summarize information to make it valuable to the business. They may be using Excel today, but as they rely more on data and insight to drive their business, their need for a solution like yours will increase.

These are examples of investing in your prospects’ growth and development. It is marketing that is valuable to the audience, including the majority of the market that benefits from useful information but isn’t looking for a new solution today.

This is nurturing, not the self-centered promotion pawned off as nurturing by most marketers today.

Your turn

What would happen if marketers started nurturing the audience rather than focusing on their pipeline? What are examples of marketers you believe are doing this well today?