Rob Bell gives a mind-blowing talk called “Everything is Spiritual” on YouTube. You could therefore deduce that marketing is spiritual, since marketing is part of “everything.” And this is what I’ve found in my work, over and over again. (You could also deduce that cupcakes are spiritual too).
Talk to the Marketing Director of a large corporation, and they’d tell you marketing is about metrics, finding the right audience, being consistent, creating good graphics and content, and testing testing testing different campaigns.
Yes. It’s all about that.
But first and foremost, it’s about one person offering themselves to another person. Or people (a company) being an offering to others. Human to human contact.
When one human offers their services or products to another human, it gets spiritual. Here’s how:
- The ability to listen to the person you serve. Nothing much happens until you can truly listen to your prospect. This might happen in a one-on-one meeting, or when you track your customers’ behavior through your database, or by watching your clients’ behavior over the long haul. The only way to listen is to get out of your own way, quiet your inner agenda, and open up to the person or people in front of you. After all, they might surprise you. True listening is a spiritual practice.
- The willingness to fail over and over again. When you send out a newsletter, it’s often ignored. Sometimes by thousands of people. On a daily basis. Or you get comments that make vampires look friendly. Or if you give a talk, and it’s just crickets and glazed over gazes. What then? You need an inner resilience. It’s easy to just fold up and go home. But marketing is a long game. You need to treat yourself with respect and make sure that you’re ready for the 5-year plan of trying and failing over and over. It’s planting seeds that might not bloom for years. This is Jedi territory.
- The willingness to know yourself. In a world of intellect worship, it’s easy to ignore your true responses and your true intentions, especially when they’re not logical. It takes consistent personal sanctuary to listen for what is there, such as in meditation. This way, you stay attuned to what matters. Is this a good audience for me? Do I want to connect with this person? Can I really help here, or am I just doing it for the money? Am I being myself in my marketing or am I just phoning it in? Marketing means you’re interacting with other humans and all the good, bad and ugly that comes with that. Your personal hang ups will come up. It can get dark at times. Ready for that?
- Creative flow: Once you’ve been listening to your people, tried a few things, failed, and kept going, you’re in a position to create great content that will benefit your tribe. And it needs to be in your unique voice. So how do you nourish your true voice and creative flow? How do you get to the good stuff? It takes practice, showing up, and experimenting. People go on expensive spiritual retreats to New Mexico for this.
- The desire to be in service. Lastly, through all of this, successful marketing is about a desire to contribute authentically and joyfully to people. It’s not about being a productive robot and simply churning it out. It’s about making a difference in people’s lives in a way that makes you come alive. You take a stand for their good. You are making a human being’s life better. It’s what makes it all worthwhile, and people feel that.
Can you see that marketing is about so much more than a popular Facebook post? Human-to-human contact means you need to show up as a full human being. Amidst rejection and human fallibility, marketing has to be a spiritual practice. When you take this on, watch how people start leaning into your message.