Why You Don’t Feel Aligned with Modern Marketing
Why do many spiritual practitioners hate marketing?
At some point over the last ten years as spirituality went mainstream, the primary narrative stopped being about finding inner peace and started being about manifesting the life you desire.
On the surface, these two things might look similar: once one manifests the life they desire, they will be at peace. Except we know that inner-peace comes from within, not from outside of ourselves, and no amount of externally-manifested desires will ever provide us with inner peace.
It used to be understood that a feeling of being less-than were at the root of the desire for wealth, power, and possessions, and it was understood that this desire was a driving force behind the imbalances on our planet. That form of spirituality taught us that true happiness does not come from material wealth –– it comes from within. That the desire for excessive material wealth is one that is based in ego, and when one does the work to tame their ego, the desire for excessive material wealth subsides.
This shift in narrative comes at the expense of self-awareness and self-inquiry, the very foundation of spirituality itself, because it doesn’t teach us to question the root of our desires –– only to question our attitudes as they relate to our ability to manifest those desires.
In other words, they teach us to bypass real inner-work and engage in toxic positivity for the sake of manifesting personal success and material wealth.
It’s also resulted in large groups of spiritual people believing they can positive-think their way out of addressing systemic inequality like poverty, racism, and patriarchy. You know. Spiritual bypassing.
This is Individualism and capitalism’s influence on spirituality.
Learn more about individualism and how it has infiltrated Western spirituality.
As a result, the latest generation of spiritual teachers are more concerned with gaining social media followers, podcast appearances, and building six and seven figure businesses –– focusing on themselves –– than they are about actually helping people.
These self-centered values are out of alignment with fundamental spiritual principles, and this is why so many authentic spiritual practitioners don’t feel aligned with the tactics that these coaches and influencers tout as as the answer to marketing their business.
Toxic Marketing in the Health, Wellness, and Coaching Industries
In this pursuit of their business success, business owners in these industries utilize the most cut-throat marketing and advertising principles to attract their ideal clients who can pay high-end fees for premium services, which makes them gatekeepers to spiritual knowledge.
Business models that rely on premium fees create exclusivity that automatically alienates people who can’t afford them, leaving spirituality to become a privilege only afforded to society’s more fortunate.
There’s also the problem that traditional marketing messages are literally designed to trigger psychological trauma around needs and desires to manipulate someone into making a purchase, which is tantamount to emotional exploitation.
Toxic marketing tactics exploit trauma, and as a healer or conscious business practitioner, this feels wrong.
At its core, nearly all branding and marketing is emotionally-driven, and evoking these emotions is meant to either help you associate them with a specific person or brand, or scare you into taking action. Pay attention to the sort of emotions evoked by certain messages and coercive language that coaches use in their messaging.
Many of them use shame, fear, and your feelings of not being good enough to convince you to commit to their programs, which is incredibly off-putting to someone who has dedicated their lives to healing and being of service to others.
A New Paradigm of Conscious Business
As we recognize the ways that capitalism has oppressed us and also destroyed the planet we live on, we will have to begin unraveling all of the ways it has conditioned us, culturally. But what does that look like in terms of how we approach marketing and advertising and attempt to engage in more ethical practices, more authenticity (real authenticity, not this faux authentic bullshit most of these influencers are peddling), and create more equity in the system?
Marketing through a trauma-informed lens obliterates all of the toxic bullshit –– and at the top, that relies on a massive shift in the “why” behind what we do.
Trauma-informed marketing cannot be inauthentic because it is predicated on building transparency, safety, and trust; and inauthenticity in any form destroys safety and trust. It has to be free of biases that perpetrate trauma. It has to be free of systems that perpetrate trauma. It requires us to do work on ourselves – and create boundaries for ourselves – in order to create safe environments for our clients.
The why can no longer be “to be successful” or “live my best life.” It requires us to de-center ourselves from our business and become client-centric. The why becomes mission-focused: to help people.
And that’s not just at the highest level in terms of branding and messaging, that’s on every level. You launch a course and your why is not “to enroll 50 people and make $3,000 in profit.” Your why is, “to teach people how to live a better life.”
When you stop focusing on success, you’re able to do things that you are passionate about and which light you up. Things that you would do even if you weren’t being paid for them. If you don’t feel that way about the service you are providing, then you’re in the wrong service.
Actually Authentic Marketing Means Being Authentic in How You Show Up
Once you make this shift, you’ll only engage in the marketing tactics that you enjoy doing. If you hate being on video and it feels draining, but you’re doing it anyway because the algorithm and a business coach told you that its trendy and you need to do it to gain traction… well how the fuck do you expect to show up authentically if you’re uncomfortable in the medium?
You’re being inauthentic simply by participating in it, so the answer is you can’t. If you’re launching a course primarily for the joy of it, and not because you’re trying to make $3,000 in two days, then there is no pressure for you to engage in toxic marketing to pressure people to sign up.
There’s a reason why people feel uncomfortable with marketing and advertising and it’s not because your experiencing iMpoStEr SyNDroMe, as many many business coaches will tell you. It’s because you’re engaging in practices that feel inauthentic to your being and antithetical to your personal values.
Marie Kondo your marketing strategy. If it doesn’t bring you joy to create it, whether its a course or an instagram post, then don’t fucking do it.
It’s incredible to sit around and watch business coaches talk about following your bliss and creating joy, and trying to teach other people how to do this too, all the while completely ignoring it in the way they actually operate their own businesses.
Why You Should Ignore Most Conscious Business Coaches
Many, if not most of the business coaches out there are operating in a capitalism-based scarcity/competition mode and tying to sell you growth hacks masked behind pretty buzzwords. This is not conscious marketing. It is the pretense of conscious marketing.
“Scale your business to six figures in just three months!” <——– That cannot be done authentically, and through a trauma-informed lens, it’s unethical and harmful because a trauma-informed lens is built on trust and safety, and trust is built over time, not overnight.
Once you stop trying to meet someone else’s predetermined definition of success, you’ll move from an active marketing practice to a passive one –– one that places little to no pressure on a potential customer –– which mean that clients will be coming to you because they really want to and not because they felt pressured to.
Potential clients who were turned off by the pressure are more likely to buy. They’ll be coming to you with realistic expectations, not illusions built on false promises, which means that they are more likely to be satisfied with their experiences, and are more likely to send more business your way, which builds a pipeline for you that is based on authenticity and long-term, sustainable growth, which is better for you in the long run and better for your clients.
If you found yourself having a lot of epiphanies while reading this, I invite you to subscribe to my conscious business blog for more ways to deconstruct the current paradigm and build something new which is authentic, ethical, and trauma-informed. You can also work with me directly.
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