Marketing for Hippies

On February 14, I went to an event called Valentine’s for Strangers at The Irish Heather. IMG_5320 It was put on by the lovely and talented Jorge Amigo, whose rise to fame in this town become somewhat meteoric after he wrote a very smart response to a recent article in Vancouver Magazine called Do Vancouver Men Suck?

In an attempt to make Vancouver a warmer place, Jorge has created a series of events called #BeMyAmigo. They are designed to bring strangers together for conversation and good times, not necessarily for dating.

So. It’s Valentine’s Day, and I find myself at a long table in the Irish Heather with 42 strangers. Super fun, right? And I ask the guy sitting across from me what he does, and he says, “I’m Marketing for Hippies.”

I must admit, I said a swear word. I think he was taken aback.

You see, dear reader, I have been following Tad’s blog for some time now, and I knew he wasn’t a local. But some twist of fate or coincidence found us sitting across the table from each other on V-day.

Part of the challenge of being a marketer is that you sometimes feel… well… icky. Like you are trying to sell people things they don’t want. Like a used car salesman, or a telemarketer.

But the truth is, you can market your business and not feel like you need to dress up a la Les Nesman. You can market your business and sell your work and still feel like you are maintaining integrity. And that’s what I love about Tad’s approach to marketing.

Here’s Tad:

RC: Tell me a bit about your background. Did you come by being a hippie naturally, or was it a rebellion?

TH: Ha! Naturally. I grew up going to Waldorf School (alternative hippie school) and my mom was a dealer of homeopathic medicines for years. It’s in the blood. But then I got deep into the person growth scene and hard selling and it kind of ‘unhippied’ me. So, I was a hippie and then developed a knack for marketing and lost my hippieness and then have spent the last ten years refinding that and learning and coming up with ways to market that feel good but also work.

RC: I love the idea of marketing in such a way that doesn’t make you feel icky, but rather makes you feel like you have integrity, but I find it’s a fine balance. What’s your marketing philosophy?

TH: These days I can sum it up in two words. Slow Marketing. I just wrote a huge post about it. http://marketingforhippies.com/slow-marketing/I see so much in marketing in the holistic scene is coming from a real posturing place – http://marketingforhippies.com/collapse-posturing-and-composure/– trying to pretend we’re bigger than we are, needing to be seen in a certain way.


So there’s this kind of forced, overly earnest, ‘I’m so sincere! I’m so powerful! I’m so together’ vibe that comes across as strained but ropes in some people. and it just makes the entrepreneur scared of being discovered as a fraud. and then so many of the tactics that are used are all about getting people to ‘act now’. So much use of urgency and scarcity. And I think that’s making us ALL scared. All the time. It’s this culture of high paced fear and panic. And panic is not a business strategy.So lately I’ve been inviting people to just slow way down in their approach to figuring out their marketing and building relationships with folks. I think a lot of people think they’re failing because people aren’t signing up ‘right away’ to be clients.I think my approach is to slow down and be much more thoughtful about it all. So much marketing is sort of a scattershot approach.

RC: How do you work with people to create marketing that doesn’t feel slimy?

TH: You slow it down.

And I think part of the problem is that we’re so obsessed with how we want our marketing to NOT feel. We don’t want it to feel slimy, pushy, aggressive, arrogant, fake, insincere, gross etc. That’s clear. But what’s often less clear is how we DO want it to feel. I think most of us never slow down enough to think about this. Marketing can be uplifting, fun, sassy, hilarious, warm, engaging, safe and educational. So, I think step one is to refocus on how we DO want it to be for us. If we do that and have that be our focus we’ll be miles ahead.


The next thing is to really focus on making sure that what we do, our platform – http://marketingforhippies.com/platform/ – is clear so that people can figure out who’s a perfect fit for them – http://marketingforhippies.com/platform/ – and who isn’t. Next is to find ways to make our business not more flashy – but safer. To give people lots of ways to get to know us without taking a risk – this could be online video, audio, a blog, social media, email lists, quizzes etc. Giving people lots of ways to get a sample of what we do so they can decide if they like it or not. And then to offer them something a little bit bigger. Step by step – leaving the customer in control the whole time instead of imaging that we are in control or trying to GET control of them.

RC: Thanks, Tad! It was awesome bumping into you!

If you’ve not yet explored Marketing for Hippies, head over there and have a look around. Subscribe to his blog. You might especially enjoy Marketing for Artists,  or Creative Writing + Marketing = <3.

You can also follow Tad on Twitter.

If you are interested in being a part of the #bemyamigo movement in Vancouver, Like the Facebook Page.

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