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Shut Up & Listen: Mindfulness & Marketing

Is there anything more self-centered than marketing? I mean, really. We’re out there, bleating on and on about ourselves, shouting with expandable banner ads and commercials that play before videos and other ways of saying, “Look at me! Look at me now! Aren’t I clever and useful? AREN’T I?!”

The thing is, though, consumers have more power now than ever to ignore us and move on to something they find more interesting. We’re not in charge anymore—they are. They’re in the driver’s seat. And we sure as hell better recognize that if we’re going to be successful marketers going forward.

Fact is, consumers are tired of being told that this is what they need to know and that’s it. They now say, screw you, I’m going to find information on my own. And who can blame them, really?

So let’s all be quiet for a minute here and embrace this new idea that’s starting to permeate and gain popularity—mindful marketing. Mindfulness as a concept is really a meditative technique, which encourages people to have a moment-by-moment awareness of their thoughts, feelings, body and surroundings.

In marketing terms, it means chucking our self-centeredness in favor of a true customer-centric approach. In other words, being always mindful of what the customer is thinking, feeling and desiring, rather than pushing our own agenda.

Here are some ways you can start making the shift.

Drop the marketing speak. No surveys or focus groups or other structured and stilted ways of connecting with customers. Whatever you do, it needs to be authentic, approached as a conversation with genuine interest on your part.

Stop talking and start asking. Do you use your social media channels to push out messages, promotions, memes and company news? Stop it. Okay, not completely. But try getting people to tell you stuff. Your social channels are excellent places for gathering product feedback, seeing trends emerge and finding out what interests your audience. So, ask them. If someone has something interesting to say, try to take the conversation offline so you can dive deeper into their thought process.

Look at your data. Actions speak louder than words. So many companies tend to just shovel out content constantly without stopping to see if anyone really wants it. Data is how people speak to you without uttering a word. Evaluate all of your content data, and make thoughtful decisions about what to produce and what to prune moving forward.

Listen, learn and let your customers be your guide—and they’ll love you for it.

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