Mindfulness and Marketing

Last year I sat my first ten day Vipassana Meditation course. This was a life changing event for me. Since, then I have not only seen the world very differently but I have also interacted with the world very differently. There are hundreds of articles online about what mindfulness is. I don’t need to go into much detail here about that. The basic premise is that you learn to observe the present moment at a much deeper a subtler level. Its about actually focusing your mind on what you are doing.

The concepts of mindfulness have been around for thousands of years however it is now reaching a tipping point in the mainstream media. We are seeing more and more business leaders, celebrities, big investors,  and sports stars indicating that meditation plays an important part in their life.

There are more and more professional summits and conferences that are dedicated to mindfulness and business. We are seeing more leaders of startup businesses and well established businesses that are making mindfulness an integral part of their companies culture. Some of these companies include Target, Intel, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, General Mills, and Google.
Why Google, Target, and General Mills Are Investing in …

For me meditation has become my primary source of relieving anxiety, stress, and a way to find joy in every moment. It has become a beacon that keeps me grounded when things are difficult. It is this practice of mindfulness and meditation that provided the clarity needed to leave my job and pursue an MBA. Also I feel much better when I have the opportunity to sit.

Now you might ask how in the world does this relate to marketing? There are really multiple factors that relate mindfulness to marketing.

Here are some reasons why I believe that that is an important development in the field.

  1. Customers are more concerned with how businesses are being run. It isn’t just a matter of being socially responsible. People care about how businesses interact with the world. Helping employees center themselves and better deal with stress will not only help them to be more productive but it also gives the company a positive image.
  2. This is a new customer segment with their own needs and unique view of the marketplace. According to the NHIS (Nation Health Interview Survey 8% of adult population (18 Million) used meditation in 2012.  https://nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/NHIS/2012/mind-body/meditation
  3. The Huffington Post called 2014, “The Year of Mindful Living.” According to the post mindfulness is just a piece of a much bigger trend called Mindful Living. Mindfulness is the outlet to counteract the fact that our senses are being constantly bombarded by technology and the outside world. According to the post this is a counter trend given that humans are simply trying to find balance.
    Why 2014 Will Be The Year Of Mindful Living – Huffington Post

 

Mindfulness Search.JPG

I agree that this is a counter trend that isn’t going away anytime soon. A key tenant of meditation is the concept of anicca.

anicca. /ˈænikə/ noun. 1. (in Theravada Buddhism) the belief that all things, including the self, are impermanent and constantly changing: the first of the three basic characteristics of existence Compare anata, dukkha.

All things are impermanent including marketing trends. On a last note Lisa Nirel wrote a book called The Mindful Marketer: How to Stay Present and Profitable in a Data-Driven World. She is mostly looking to use meditation as a way to sharpen her mind in order to do her job.

I would argue that you can learn to meditate and as you observe the world at a subtler, and subtler level your clinging and attachment to things will melt away. For example as you sit reading this you may feel an itch on your face or head. The normal reaction is to quickly satisfy the need and scratch the itch. But, instead try exploring the itch with your mind. Try to understand the more subtle nature of the itch. The attachment and need to scratch the itch will dissipate and so will the itch itself. Once, we learn to let go of our attachments and aversions then we will have no needs for a marketer to satisfy.

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