As a yoga practitioner and marketing professional, I have come to see the parallels of these two seemingly unrelated practices. The foundational principles associated with yoga can direct our day to day and even high-level strategies as marketers. Read on to learn four marketing lessons from this ancient practice. No headstands or lotus poses required.
1. When the Foundation Is Clear, the Execution Is Successful
In essence, yoga is the continuum of theory and practice. As a marketer, isn’t it our job to create a theory (or strategy) through marketing research and execute upon the theory’s key findings or practice?
A successful marketer does not use one or the other; the back-end research is needed to support the execution. A like-the-back-of-your-hand knowledge of your brand’s intangibles (demographic or psychographic customer insights) drives the tangibles (revenue, product development, sales). Marketing theory and practice can be executed with the smallest tasks or biggest campaigns. When the foundation is clear, the execution is successful---ergo the transference of yoga’s theory and practice to marketing.
2. A Mental Clean Slate Helps You Think Without Preconceived Notions
Yoga is what is traditionally called a liberation teaching (or moksha-shâstra). Liberations of any kind seek to admonish any notions of “why we are” or “what we know.” Liberation allows for a mental clean slate, which allows us to think more clearly and profoundly.
Think of the transference to marketing. We are often clouded by pre-conceived notions of how we should be communicating with our end customer, even though those notions may not even be relevant or effective. It’s just the time-tested way within your organization to do something, so we continue to do it.
I was in a client meeting last week, and I asked, “Have you ever polled your current customers on how they view your company?” The answer was no. Many companies have a hard time trekking out of their offices into the “field” to chat with folks who have first-hand experience with your business---your customers.
Having a clean slate or a liberated notion of your business will allow you to uncover brand promises that could be one step away coming right from the mouth of your valued customer. Why do you think consultants exist---for an unadulterated perspective, right? From there, you will be able to move forward with marketing activities that allow you to better reach your current customer. It all starts with a clean slate, free from preconceived notions.
3. Small Gestures of Kindness Can Establish Customer Loyalty
A yogic life is guided by the principle of dharma, which means “law,” “order” and “virtue.”
Just last week I watched a TED Time Square lecture by famed HARO founder Peter Shankman. His presentation was “Why Nice Finishes First.” He shared cases about corporations going the extra mile to make small gestures of kindness---and how these gestures turn one-time customers into brand advocates for life. Those gestures seemed to be founded in good virtue and morality,
So what can you learn from the principal of dharma? Not only should we be virtuous for the sake of being virtuous, but we should also transfer the principal of kindness and morality to our marketing and business practices. It pays off with customer loyalty in the end.
4. Simplicity Helps Consumers Know Your Brand Better
Yoga teaches us to get back to basics; the more we untangle our lives the better off we are said to become. That yoga principle transfers to marketing perfectly. Are our marketing messages or campaigns clouded by “too much”? Too many graphics, too much copy on our websites, too many calls to action---just general clutter?
Think about the most famed advertising taglines. They are simple yet memorable: Nike’s Just Do It, Apple’s Think Smarter, the Dairy Council’s Got Milk? and Avis’ We Try Harder. Their websites are equally as succinct with simple, profound, and uncluttered content. That simplicity allows for a clear understanding by consumers of what the brand is all about. As a result, those brands have saturation in just about every home in America.