FOCUS: The Simple Obsession of Mindful Marketing

Mindfulness is a light of honesty within yourself that is fed by each moment that passes.

Mindfulness and “being in the moment” are ancient ideas found across cultures. This self-awareness is partly being truly aware of the moment, and partly acknowledging and letting go of the things and thoughts that cling to you or come flying back at you, only to be noticed and let go of again in that moment. It’s an enlightening and maddening place to be, for sure…

I read an article by Seth Godin recently about self-awareness and marketing that brought me to reconsider the role of marketing in my thought life and decision-making process, and in that of my customers and yours, too. To say that we are all relentlessly marketed to by just about everything and everyone is a statement of the obvious that we have become so numb to that we tend to ignore it.  We are in danger of losing the awareness that can allow us a margin of critical thinking.  Godin writes, “Mostly, marketing is what we call it when someone else is influenced by a marketer. When we’re influenced, though, it’s not marketing, it’s a smart choice.” In other words, it’s not “just marketing” when it influences me! I’m not as influenced by the marketing beast as “those other folks!”

But if I can step back tell myself that I know that purchasing that bigger, better faster gadget (in my case an Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet…) is driven as much by Amazon’s marketing machine, and their awareness and analysis of my buying habits that go back to the beginning of my first log-on to their site and that first purchase of a book (when books were their primary products….) as much as by my rationalization of the need for a tablet with a bigger screen, newer operating system, and all the other features I find valuable (and that they touted to me…)….. well…that’s what One-Click is for, right?! I step back and realize that I have been manipulated into this decision, even if I include some honesty about my passion for gadgetry. Now, look around and observe all the other places where this impacts decision-making: the choices for politics, diet, theories of parenting, business planning and strategy, relationships and so much more. There is no avoiding it….only the ability to become aware of it.

Godin writes that, “We feel like questioning the role of marketing is somehow questioning who we are and what we hold dear.” When confronted with the thought that we, as smart and savvy as we are, are being manipulated by marketing, we start to doubt our own abilities to think critically and make informed, and not directed, decisions. It is a testament to the power of marketing, for sure.

So, thinking about the role of marketing in your business and the effort and resources you devote to it, how do you see the impact it can have for your business, on your customers, and your responsibility for it?

So many entrepreneurs and small business owners are superhero Technicians!  They love what they do, they are extremely good at it and deliver consistently high quality products and services to their customers. Putting on the business hat, evolving their business plan and building a marketing plan that addresses their target market and audiences (on and off-line) is something that a number of them do up front. Then they launch the business and gain traction, but lose sight of those plans and goals because of the focus on getting profitable….and things change. Marketing and, (in my environment) digital and social media marketing, can get short shrift as the skills and expertise to build a truly effective strategy, and solid launch and execution plan that is sustainable are not a part of many of their skill sets, and may be seen as either unobtainable or not required.

A solid, valuable and attractive product or service is the foundation of a successful business and the marketing grows from that. Marketing is powerful and it works. Digital and social media marketing are key components of a successful marketing strategy of businesses of any size and type. Being mindful of the impact we have on our customers and audience can not only allow us to ensure that we deliver valuable, relevant, useful and entertaining information in our marketing efforts but be responsible about it, too. We can ensure that the decisions they make to engage with us and purchase what we have to offer are honest, and based upon a credible relationship that proves to be a long-lasting one. Authentic, transparent marketing helps build the trust with your customers and audience that will mean the kind of success that is long-term and valuable.

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