Another marketer, (@kristy3m), recently retweeted my article about The 13 Worst Marketing Mistakes, saying that my subject was “when marketers and yogi’s intersect.” I love it! It inspired me to buy domain rights to themarketingyogi.com. Maybe I’ll do something with that someday. Meanwhile, some more thoughts on a BIG topic, the yoga of marketing.
Marketing, properly practiced, is a discipline, so the idea of marketing and yoga intersecting is logical. It is also profound, because yoga crosses into the big issues of Meaning, Truth, and similar words with capital letters, and when it does so, it drags Marketing with it, albeit kicking and screaming.
Viewing Marketing through the lens of yoga highlights the foundational role of ethics. What marketer has not been tempted to cross into an ethical gray zone at some point? There are so many siren calls every day on the job:
- “I know better than the customer (or the boss, or Sales) so I’m just going to force this through”
- “This probably won’t work, but I need to get something to market or I won’t make bonus”
- “His idea sucks, and I’ll prove it!”
- “I bet I can get Legal to sign off on this claim support, even though I think it’s questionable”
- “So what if it’s bad for people – they can make their own choices”
- “It doesn’t make sense, but the numbers say we should do it”
- “We’ll play on their insecurity”
And the list goes on. Ego or expediency or disrespect or reluctance to take responsibility or the drive to look good or all of them whisper in our ear, and we set aside what we know to be right. More often than not, we don’t even ever look back with shame and regret. Shady ethics becomes our normal mode.
But Marketing, done right, is one of the higher callings. It is the discipline of cultivating deep insight into someone’s desires and needs, then translating that insight into a useful product or service, then making that product or service available, then communicating back to the target in a way that engages her and spurs action – all while serving multiple stakeholders and building connections between multiple contributors.
Marketing, done right, is a yogic discipline bridging our inner truths with outer circumstances, in the process magically transforming both.
Marketing, done right, builds connection, community, shared purpose, even joy.
Or it can be done cynically: make the quarterly target, no matter who gets screwed. Look good at all costs.
I have fallen short often enough, but I know how I aspire to practice my discipline. So yes, my colleague was right: I stand at the intersection of marketing and yoga. I call it Dharmanomics, the application of timeless principles to today’s changing economy. I’ve shied away from writing about it because it sounds kind of fringe. You all might not let me back in the club if I go too far out there.
Am I alone here, or are others intrigued by the topic?