Marketing is a big rock

Marketing is a big rock

  • by Marketing Fuel
  • Blog

A professor has a glass jar on his desk, in front of his class.

He tells them to see the jar as symbol of life and the time they have available. He places large stones into the jar until he can’t fit anymore in. When asked if the jar can be filled further a student tells him that the jar is full and therefore he cannot fit anything else into it. Out comes a bag of smaller gravel stones, which the professor tips into the jar and begin to fill some of the gaps in between the big stones.

He questions his class a second time “Is the jar full?” They begin to follow the logic and agree that there is still space within the jar. The professor picks up a bag of sand and adds the contents to the jar as well, the smaller grains of sand filling the spaces left between the gravel stones.

Again he asks the class if they consider the jar to be full, to which they voice their belief that nothing else is capable of being added to the contents of the jar. The professor picks up a jug of water and pours it into the jar as well which takes up the last of the available space.


You’re probably beginning to wonder how this life lesson can be applied to a business. The relevance lies within the moral of the story as it continues…


The professor asks the class if they understand the point he is trying to prove. A student attempts an answer by stating that things can always be squeezed into someone’s life, that people can always do more than they are initially aware of.

The professor replies “That’s not it… if I had put the sand or gravel stones in before the big stones?” Another student confirms that they would not have fit at all. “Yes” the professor replies “and if I tried to force it in the jar would break.”


Most people will have heard this story (or a similar variant) at some stage in life and should remember that the moral of the story is about prioritisation. Focus on the big things in life above all else or you’ll never experience them, you simply won’t have the time to fit it all in.

Thus the way to view this from a marketing perspective is to develop your strategy to provide you with a constant stream of enquiries is most definitely a big rock. A lot of business owners have already filled their jars with too much sand and are struggling to fit the big rocks into the jars that are their businesses. To clarify it’s that the owners are too busy with other concerns and any marketing is either minimal or never carried out.

The end result of which is the lack of any consistent string of customers knocking on their doors.

Take a look at your own business models/methods.

Have you forgotten your big rocks?

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