When friends are looking to vent their problems, a lot of us tend to jump straight into giving them advice. You know where they’re going wrong, so why not save them a lot of time and just tell them?
The problem with this is that it doesn’t work. As soon as you give the advice, you’ve created a hierarchy where you’re the sage and they’re the lowly idiot. And despite your good intentions, your friend will mentally shut you down. If you had just listened, you could have slowly moved your friend towards the right answer. They would have learned the lesson on their own (or so they think), and it would have been a hundred times more powerful than you just telling them what to do.
The same thing happens in advertising. A company tells us what to think instead of letting us figure it out on our own. It’s patronizing, so we block it out.
That’s why marketing is different. Advertising is forcing your message onto someone, while marketing is about listening and gently guiding people to find answers on their own.
Even if they wouldn’t have found those answers without your help.