Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Getting to the Heart of Marketing

I first began the research that eventually turned into the notes for The Sage Age as a way to educate myself on the terminology and philosophies I found so often used in movies and books that attempted to blend science with intuitive wisdom. After three years, I realized that the information I had collected would be invaluable to others seeking the same clarity. That’s when I decided to publish the material. In all, it took over four years to complete the research and another six to eight months to produce the first draft.

When I finally presented the manuscript to my editor, I began talking with her at length about the book business. I used to be in the music business and found it much the same with the exception that few publishers offer any assistance with marketing and that the bulk of that duty would fall to me. As if all the time and work of researching and writing the book were not enough, now I had to take a crash course in marketing.

Even though The Sage Age is about the rational sciences and the intuitive arts, it would need to be cross marketed in the “spirituality” genre. What I found there disgusted me. Spirituality had been co-opted into a multi-billion dollar business of using hard sell hype to push cotton candy. Let me explain. Cotton candy consists of sugar and fluff. Guerilla marketing tactics were being used in “squeeze pages” to hype folks into making a decision to purchase material that would help them get high on affirmations, platitudes, and hype, but rarely help them produce long-lasting changes. It was mostly sugar and fluff. Some of the worst of it came from folks hyping a “secret” of “attraction” that was singularly focused on the accumulation of wealth.

I don’t particularly enjoy sales. What I do enjoy is interacting with other people and discussing our common passions. I was delighted to find social networking sites and am thrilled that more folks from all over the globe are participating. I’m not so delighted with the fact that some of these sites are spammed by folks monitoring keywords used by intuitives, and other terms connected to spirituality, and then sending those who write the words an ad for a money-making scheme.

This trend continues to give a bad name to well-intentioned practitioners who use social marketing and other online resources to discuss their services. It also continues to aggravate a problem many intuitive practitioners have faced for the last 100 years, and that is the deifying of science and the devaluing of the intuitive arts as viable services.

But the tide is changing. Users of social networking sites are demanding that the emphasis remain on the social aspect. They are beginning to turn off rock star salesman in favor of folks who are offering helpful information. In sales, the trend is turning from “me” to “we” and those who are adopting these new soft sell techniques are gaining favor.

Recently, I had the pleasure of being invited to participate in a virtual blog tour to promote a book titled The Heart of Marketing. It was written by Judith Sherven, PhD & Jim Sniechowski, PhD. who both have devoted many years to private practice therapy. I want to tell you why I accepted that invitation.

In the very first section of their book, Judith and Jim (as they liked to be called) addressed head-on the distaste many feel toward sales, both as the seller and the purchaser. They also take a stance of non-competitiveness between hard sell and soft sell tactics, meaning that each has its place. One of their objectives with this book is to address the changing tide and “validate and support the value of the heart-to-heart connections brought to the marketplace by soft sell marketers.” They also “present the principle that Selling Is Spiritual Service with the intent to heal the split that soft sell marketers feel between their desire to be of service and their need to be paid, and paid well for what they do.”

I’m a geek and while taking a crash course in marketing, I compiled notes that documented the process of developing an online presence. At the urging of my editor these eventually became a set of e-books that I promote through Just the FAQs sites (blog and website). I could very well have used those sites to participate in this virtual book tour, but I chose to publish it here because I believe it will be most helpful to the large intuitive practitioner audience that The Sage Age has attracted.

Look for more information on the book here tomorrow as the tour swings by. I hope you find it helpful and that it gives you tools to bring your marketing into alignment with the vibe of your intuitive practice, services, and products.