Having Fun with Marketing Fluff by James Kelly

Imagine you could walk up to someone and know their soul. Imagine they could know yours. To some extent, we all have a thirst to be able to get to the quintessence of someone or something like this, but I realized today that there are two breeds of people that especially seek this: yoga practitioners and techies. For me this is an interesting common ground…

Living in Silicon Valley with lots of yogis and techies, and falling into both categories myself, I realized that the hardcore folks of either category have something in common indeed. They tend to have a low tolerance and appreciation for marketing, and quickly want to get to the underlying truth. Working in marketing for the last few years and having done a panel session on marketing OpenStack yesterday, this is even more interesting to me, but let me come back to that. First, let me step back and explain this coincidence.

Hardcore techies – There’s little patience for the sales pitch, messaging or the value proposition because these folks pride themselves on scientific skepticism and understanding the details. They’re keen to physically or logically dissect and reassemble technology. They don’t associate their job and work value with their organizational brand and commercial success, but rather with the speeds and feeds, features and functions, and technological progress.

Hardcore yogis – Although most of them have a physical asana practice, life is an inside job for the hardcore yogi. The heart of the practice is one of noticing ebb and flow in participation in the life that is given with care and without judgement, resistance or attachment. This is not about gymnastic ability, striking the perfect pose, an idyllic beach setting for the yoga shala, nor the latest style of Lululemon.

Both of these personalities desire the truth, and both of them alike often snub marketing and branding as a veil or an illusory distraction from the truth they represent.

On one hand, I concede that buying into anything based on its marketing is a precarious undertaking because there’s obviously a lot inauthenticity out there. I’ll also add that sensationalized and adamant unpermissive promotion really can mar a product or cause, especially for those of us that are not ever-hungry oblivious consumers.

On the other hand, I have a lot of respect for authentic marketers. Thinking about the way you’re seen in the world matters in practice because it is your interface to the environment. No one has the ability to see the soul of a person straight away, nor can anyone fully determine all the facets of a product or service in an instant. This is why marketing identity and branding matters. Marketing is innate to interaction and nature.

Marketing is innate to interaction and nature.

Just as the bee notices a flower in part because of its beauty in color and aroma, we also make decisions based upon, not just logic, but also how inviting something is from psychological and sensory perspectives.

If you’ve ever thought that marketing is fluff or inconsequential, the core truth is that you’re right. It is not the essence of a thing or a being. However, occupying a universe of duality and matter, everything has a perspective and an interface, everything shows up somehow, some way. In this world, impression and influence do matter. Just like the yogi participates in the dance of life for the wonder of it all, so you should participate in meaningful marketing and have fun with it all.

*Random Footnote: Interesting how today “software” more than “hardware” is really becoming the core practice in both of these areas of tech and yoga.