Share a story about ‘gross marketing’ . . .

Sometimes marketing can be inspiring.

Other times it can leave us feeling really, really horrible.

And I want to invite you to share you stories of when it’s felt really awful.


Because I’m working on a book (working title: ‘Marketing for Hippies’) and sometimes the best way to help explain the difference between conscious and unconscious marketing is through stories.

In a few weeks, I’ll be inviting you to share stories of the most inspiring and uplifting marketing you’ve ever experienced – but let’s start here.

My story:

Speaking for myself, I can say that I’ve been on the receiving and giving end of this.

STORY #1: A bit about my sortid past – early in my career (like almost 20 years ago), I worked for a well known personal growth company. I would follow up with leads and try to sell them into the seminars. I was taught to put myself into a peak state and be absolutely certain that our programs could help them.

I was never told to use high-pressure tactics – but if you come from the place of absolute certainty ‘what i’m offering can help everyone’ and your objective is to get them to ‘say yes’ – well, that’s where pressure comes from. I hadn’t figured out that getting them to say ‘yes’ wasn’t the real goal in a conversation like that.

I remember one call, blindly trying to ‘close’ someone. I kept asking for some info from him (perhaps his credit card number? I can’t recall) and when he’d say ‘no’ I would just change the topic and then ask for it again, directly, in a few minutes. In the end, he was laughing at the absurdity of it. He couldn’t believe that I couldn’t accept him saying ‘no’.

It was ridiculous.

It was pushy and gross.

LESSON: Graciousness. The importance of really being okay with ‘no’ and being able to let go and bless and release when it isn’t a fit, or isn’t working vs. holding on and pushing harder.

STORY #2: Another time, I was speaking with someone and trying to convince him that our new three hour program would absolutely change his life. We must have spent 45 minutes on the phone. He’d attended the same event a year or so previous and it hadn’t lived up to the hype on it. I was basically inviting him back to the same event. But we’d renamed it and changed it mildly. He ended up coming – of course it didn’t change his life and he was disappointed and I felt so empty and terrible for my lack of integrity.

Because I hadn’t really believed it would for sure change his life. In fact, I figured he was probably right – but it meant money for me and it also meant that I’d get the approval of my bosses for convincing someone to come and ‘getting past their objections’.

I didn’t sleep well in those days.

LESSON: Integrity. I didn’t really believe in what I was selling. And when I am selling something I don’t believe in I might temporarily meet my need for security (via money) but I sell out my integrity. And that not only feels painful for me but makes me a terrible guide for others. When I stay in my integrity I can genuinely become a trusted advisor – because I’m really being trustworthy.

STORY #3: I go to a smoothie shop and ask them if they can put the smoothie into my Nalgene container. They say they can’t due to hygiene reasons. But, they offer, I could buy one of their reusable mugs.

I tell them this makes no sense and is obviously a blatant upsell.

She’s very apologetic and I assure her I’m not personally upset with her but that I think the policy is ridiculous. It made me feel like I was being lied to right to my face and given a bullshit rationale for them wanting to sell their mugs. It was done under the guise of ‘it’s better for the environment’ but that really wasn’t their primary concern. They didn’t actually care about the cleanliness of the mug – they cared about making money – and they weren’t honest about that.

I clearly didn’t need a mug – but they tried to sell it to me anyway. I wrote the company and they ended up stopping that policy. I’m sure many others wrote in too.

LESSON: Be honest about your motivations. People know you have selfish motives. You need to get your needs met. And that’s okay. But don’t ever lie about why you’re making an offer – or why you have a certain policy. If she’d said, “You know what – we don’t pour our drinks into other people’s reusable containers because we’ve got our own we’re trying to sell.” I would have been appalled and thought it was a stupid policy and not in alignment with their values – but I wouldn’t have felt lied to. I might even have respected the forthrightness of it at a certain level.


So, those are some examples of stories from me: I’d love to hear your stories.

It can be a story of something you did that felt out of integrity and what happened – or it could be something you experienced. It might have been super gross – or maybe just felt a little ‘off’.

Criteria for the stories:

1) let’s keep names out of it – we’re not here to bash anyone.

2) details! the more details the better – help us understand exactly what it was that had it feel so ‘off’ for you.

3) please make sure you share how it felt for you. what was your experience in the moment.

4) what lesson did you take from it about ‘conscious marketing’?

Please leave your stories below in the comments . . .


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