The Future of Business: “Conscious Marketing”

By Carolyn Tate
Carolyn Tate & Co.

The business of business is no longer business. The business of business is to leave the world a better place. Three years ago, I was on the verge of giving up my profession for good. After 20 years as a seasoned marketer in both the corporate world and in my own business.

I was sick and tired of the “smoke and mirrors” world of marketing. I didn’t feel that my work was making a difference in the world, and I’d lost my vision.

So I sold my lovely home in the seaside suburb of Coogee, near Sydney, Australia, gave away most of my possessions, and took my 12-year-old son off to Aix-en-Provence in the South of France for five months. While Billy went to school in a nearby village, I wrote a book (absolutely not on marketing), did yoga, had long lunches with friends, learned a smattering of French (very poorly), and pondered my life and my vocation.

In January 2011, we returned to Australia to live in Melbourne. I was still not yet ready to jump back into my business, so I went to work with a not-for-profit in the hope that I would feel good by doing good.

My Problem With Marketing

So what was my problem? Why was I sick of my vocation? I believe that my profession has lost its way and that the world of advertising and marketing is deeply broken. And sadly, I know that I’ve had a hand in it.

Let’s face it, most marketing and advertising sucks.

While the media options have increased tenfold, the quality of the message has regressed in direct proportion. With more than 3,000 (that’s two per minute) marketing messages received in any given day, is it any wonder that people are tuning out and turning off? And if we do tune in, most of what we witness is predicated on fear, sells us stuff we don’t need, attacks the competition, talks to us like we have an IQ of 5, is bland and unforgettable, and promises something it simply can’t deliver.

Marketing and advertising has made us sick, sad, fat, lonely, dumb, numb, stressed, grasping, and broke. We live in a world where shopping and buying stuff is a priority over spending time in meaningful, loving relationships. It has made us feel “less than,” unloved, and unsuccessful. The more we consume, the more we need to earn and the more complex our lives have become.

Marketers and advertisers have rearranged and reordered our lives and our environment to place their commercial graffiti in our faces at any opportunity. There is simply no escaping it; from the minute we wake up to the minute we go to bed, we are bombarded with it.

It’s time to change the marketing paradigm and join the revolution and become a conscious marketer.

We’re both the victim and the perpetrators of unconscious binge marketing and advertising. As marketers, when we need to sell more stuff, we simply turn up the volume and the frequency of our promotions and add to the already over-polluted marketing atmosphere.

In 2009, $11 billion was spent on paid advertising in Australia and globally that figure is expected to be around $650 billion in 2014. Now I’m going to take a wild but conservative guess here because there are no statistics, but if we were to take into account all the other costs associated with this industry including the costs of agencies, marketing departments, website development, printing, SEO, video production, direct mail and much more, I’d estimate an industry spend of more than $100 billion in Australia and $6.5 trillion globally.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe that marketing and advertising is evil.

It’s an essential ingredient of any free-market economy. It’s just that the fundamentals of good marketing have been lost and hijacked by social media and advertisers. The model is broken and it needs an overhaul—drastically.

Brilliant marketing starts from the inside out, and that’s what this article is all about. It’s time to change the marketing paradigm and join the revolution and become a conscious marketer.

My “Aha” Moment

Now back to my personal conundrum on what to do with the rest of my working life. I knew the NFP sector was not for me and that I just had to put my entrepreneurial hat back on, in some way, shape, or form. I had three distinct options:

    • Ignore my feelings and get back on the marketing mouse wheel into my old business.
    • Leave my profession once and for all and find a whole new business to start.
    • Lead a marketing revolution and change the paradigm, starting with my own business.

It happened on the 1st of May, 2012.

I had just finished the groundbreaking book, “Firms of Endearment” and was at the launch of Conscious Capitalism Australia in Sydney.

Raj Sisodia, a professor of Marketing at Bentley University and co-author of the book, was the keynote speaker. He made a declaration that literally brought tears to my eyes and caused a physical reaction in my body:

“The 21st century marketing paradigm reflects a customer-centric mindset that turns marketers into healers where our role is to cure, and restore health, soundness, and spiritual wholeness.” — Raj Sisodia

This single statement made me fall in love with my vocation all over again. I knew right then and there that I could make marketing a force for good in the world.

Click here to learn more about Carolyn Tate, and receive the full report, The Conscious Marketing Revolution: Marketing for the 21st Century.