— by Dan Wallace
Tomorrow, I’m going to meditate at the FUSE Brand Strategy & Design Conference. Medication — in the form of caffeine, sugar and alcohol — is common at national conferences, but meditation is something new.
Since meditation and marketing have been stable fixtures in my life for many years, I’m looking forward to the workshop by Greg Burdilis from The Power of Presence. Mr. Burdilis has impressive credentials, including sevien years as a Buddhist monk in Burma and a TEDx talk in Boulder.
This mash-up of marketing and meditation at FUSE has given me this opportunity to formally connect two important parts of my life. Upon reflection, there is one very obvious connection between meditation and marketing — a shared interest in gaining insight. Meditation seeks to reveal profound intra-personal insights. Marketers seek to discover insights into the minds of others.
From my experience, the greatest hindrance to gaining customer insight is the lack of personal awareness by those conducting an enquiry. Without personal insight, it is impossible to develop the empathy that speaker and researcher Gareth Schweitzer advocated for earlier today. And since the very framework of research is created by our minds, the mind of the researcher is the most important part of any study.
Another connection between meditation and marketing is that both practices generally seek to do something beneficial for self and others. Meditation seeks to increase happiness and beneficial behavior. Marketing seeks to identify and fulfill wants and needs. Neither practice is perfect; both monks and marketers can do harm, but in general, meditation and marketing seek positive outcomes.
The meditation practice I use most is Vipassana, or mindfulness, or insight meditation. The point of of this exercise is to calm the conscious chatter of the mind and then inspect what bubbles up from the subconscious. It is a humbling practice. My subconscious mind is filled with more noise than signal, and I’ve come to learn that this is the way it is for everyone.
I look forward to sitting in silence with fellow marketer tomorrow as we gain insight into our most important research subjects. Ourselves.
Dan Wallace develops products and is a marketing & brand consultant. He is co-authoring a book, “The Physics of Brand,” to be published by HOW in 2016. This blog post was written for the 15th annual FUSE Conference in Chicago, hosted by IIR. You can follow Dan on Twitter @ideafood.