The Zen of
By Bob Martel, JMB Marketing
Are you familiar with Thik Nat Han, the Vietnamese
Buddhist monk and philosopher? Regardless of your
religious background or beliefs...his book, The
Miracle of Mindfulness, offers a unique perspective
on life that you can, indeed, apply to the marketing
of your business. As I recall, he wrote the book as
advice to his brother Quang, based on his life's
experiences living through the Vietnam War.
I’ve written previously about the mindfulness of
marketing to call attention, specifically to point
out that your company is merely a collection of
thoughts and perceptions in the mind of customers.
Indeed, the practice of mindfulness meditation can
lead to prosperity and happiness in your business.
In the spirit of the mindfulness of marketing, I
thought this insightful experience, shared by a
recent client, would be valuable to you as you
contemplate your own marketing philosophy and what
it means to serve your clients. (Hint: If your lead
generation system is not yielding lots of ripe
fruit, it may be time for you to go pick
A client called for advice about two completely
different lead generation programs he was planning
to launch - but he could not decide which one to
choose. Frantic, and looking for an immediate
answer, he wanted me to make his decision for him.
Since I know this client very well, I took a
chance... and I told him to take a break and go pick
some fresh blueberries and ponder the answer to his
own question. (No, I have not lost my marbles). And,
yes, I did charge him for this sage advice. But he
saved thousands in potentially wasted marketing
dollars, and he harvested an abundance of new
business by making the right marketing decision.
If you have ever picked blueberries you know that
you can go crazy deciding which blueberries to focus
on, as I am sure you'll agree. There are berries
everywhere and your brain simply cannot focus on
just one berry! As your hands are picking, your eyes
are shifting to the next fruit. But if you were to
slow down and focus on the experience of enjoying
the process of blueberry picking - one berry at a
time - you'd be more mindful, and thus enjoy a
relaxed outdoor experience. See the metaphor
developing? The Buddhists have a saying, chop wood,
carry water, which you can apply to your present
marketing reality. It applies to picking
blueberries, and to generating an abundance of high
quality prospects for your business.
Anyway, as my client picked blueberries, I told him
to concentrate on his breathing and relax as he
selected which bush, and which berries to pick, and
to ignore the anxiety over the fruit he is not yet
picking. Those berries will be picked in future
moments. Then I told him to continue to concentrate
on the blueberry he was picking, taking his time to
inspect each berry, and discard those that were
over-ripe or still partially green. After all, he
was going to make blueberry wine with these berries
and only the best would do. I also told him to
select a few of the best berries for immediate
sampling - and to be aware of the flavorful
To my surprise, he actually did drop everything and
he went blueberry picking for the afternoon! And he
called me that same evening with the answer to his
marketing question. Yes, the answer was in the
question. Before he shared his decision, he told me
about his adventure in the blueberry fields.
Each blueberry bush was filled with deep blue
berries, weighing down each branch. At first he was
frantically picking every berry he could grab, and
after a few minutes he noticed his bowl was filled
with lots of smaller berries, and many green
His original question was "which do I launch to
generate new business? A colorful, easy to launch
postcard campaign to get my name out there, an email
campaign... or a highly personalized sales letter
with resonating copy that appeals to the prospects'
deepest emotional needs?"
Of course, the answer is that they each have their
place within a campaign. A lot depends on the list,
the offer, the time of year, the call to action, the
goals of the campaign, and the prospects’ buying
process. He was looking for permission from me to
take the easy path to "getting something in the
mail" when he knew the more laborious sales letter
approach would create better leads.
Since his objective was to develop a steady stream
of high quality prospects that he could serve for
many years, he decided to launch a highly
personalized multi-step sales letter. Considerably
more work, but better fruit, in this case.
Like blueberry picking, your marketing has to be a
deliberate, unending, disciplined, and highly
focused effort if you are to fill your basket with
an abundance of ripe fruit. It is time to pick the
ripest blueberries... it's time for you to pick high
quality lead generation programs... and become more
If you believe in the power of the written word,
it's easy to realize that a lot more work goes into
choosing the right words for a 3-4 page letter.
There's a famous saying that goes like this: "I
would have written you a one page letter but I
didn't have time!" Are you devoting enough time to
getting your marketing message right?
Focus your mind on the right marketing strategy.
Enjoy your blueberry picking!
---Source: Bob Matel is the
principal consultant at JMB Marketing Group. View
his Web site at
www.jmbmarketing.com. Email him at
firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments
about this article.