Marketing must be real in order to work. Best practices must be rooted in human norms, tendencies and desires because, let’s be honest, we want to connect with consumers, and consumers reward brands that favor honesty and authenticity.
Because marketing must be in the context of humanity, one can find lessons about marketing in just about every facet of life – even yoga.
Lying on my mat one morning preparing for practice, I couldn’t help but connect what I was about to do in yoga with what I strive to do in marketing. This golden nugget of enlightenment was about to get in the way of a quiet mind, so I reluctantly let it go for the time being with only a slight pang of anxiety. After twisting, bending, breathing and sweating for an hour, the lessons were still with me.
So, take a deep breath, sit up straight with your core engaged, and read on for some nuggets one yogi learned about marketing:
Be in the present.
Yoga practice necessitates a mind focused solely on the present moment; the next move, the week’s to-list, and next month’s presentation aren’t allowed to intrude on the precious present.
In a similar way, content that is timely and rooted in the present is vital to marketing. Newsfeed marketing may no longer be new, but it is a necessity, as it helps shape a brand’s character and voice. These days, it’s all about being alert and focused.
Set an intention.
Every yoga class, the teacher encourages students to set an intention. Setting an intention helps you commit to your practice and – you guessed it – stay in the present moment. It is a deliberate commitment to connect what you do on your mat to your way of being. While intentions are not goals, they help you reach them.
How does this complement marketing? In the age of inbound marketing, everything must be integrated. Every blog, every tweet, every email must be done with intention in accordance with larger goals.
The mantra “listen to your body” is repeated throughout yoga classes. You must listen to how your body is feeling in that moment, and your practice should modify itself accordingly. Yes, there’s something to be said for pushing your body in the name of building strength, but there, conversely, is also something to be said about honesty and respect for your body.
What the hell does all this yogi talk have to do with marketing? You’ve got to listen to your consumer. Duh. Whether it’s chatter on the social channels, data gathered from marketing automation software or a face-to-face conversation with a consumer (can you even imagine?!), you’ve got to listen.
Be OK with getting disgustingly sweaty.
You know those Lululemon advertisements that feature immaculate models bearing no evidence of perspiration?
Honey, that ain’t real. In practice, you get sweaty. You get disgustingly sweaty. And that’s OK; not only is it a sign of a good practice, it’s healthy, too.
Similarly, good marketing takes a lot of work. A one-and-done execution is never the reality. Success requires market research, execution and continued refinement. In this age of Big Data, a plethora of information is available to us, but we’ve gotta get our hands dirty analyzing it. Sometimes the results report our success and sometimes they suggest something isn’t working. Then, we’ve got to adjust, which leads me to my next lesson:
When I step onto my mat, sometimes it’s a struggle just to touch my toes. But, give me an hour in a 100-degree room, and I can twist like nobody’s business. The lesson is to not demand flexibility prematurely; rather, you must let go of any attachment to results and breathe, allowing your breath to take your body into its full expression.
Marketing without an attachment to results doesn’t sound too feasible – both for the success of the client and our bottom line. But, a lesson can still be learned here. Just because Plan A was totally rad and we spent forever and a day getting it together, if the data and our consumer says it ain’t workin’, it ain’t workin’. We need to have the flexibility to modify our plan based on the results.
On another note, yoga has taught me the beautiful lesson of perspective. At the end of the day, we must recognize the significance of our to-do lists in the context of our lives: there’s a time for late “git r done” nights in the office, and there’s a time for letting go for the day and getting sweaty on your yoga mat.
It’s all about balance.