Marketing for the Socially Conscious Set

by Loolwa Khazzoom • January 14, 2016 • Writing and Editing Tips

Tad Hargrave, founder of Marketing for Hippies, specializes in helping activists and other socially conscious individuals learn how to market their products and services in ways that are in alignment with their souls. As an activist/educator-turned-publicist/marketing specialist myself, I have intimate knowledge of the queasiness one can feel about marketing, as well as the spiritual journey one must take, so as to get comfortable with money and “success.” At its best, I learned through my own journey, sales is a form of service, and marketing is a form of matchmaking. In these excerpts from my interview, I asked Tad to elaborate on these and related principles:

Loolwa Khazzoom: Why are activists and other socially-conscious individuals typically conflicted about making money?

Tad Hargrave: They have a critique about the whole financial system. They know they need to make money, but they hate participating in “the system.” When they look at money, they see not just money but the way capitalism has ravaged the world. They also see the ways that, in their own industries, colleagues use questionable, potentially unethical marketing strategies and hype, to get people to buy. They don’t want to be a part of any of that, but they don’t see an alternative; so they feel incredibly trapped.

When they go to most business or marketing coaches, they are told that these are “limiting beliefs around money,” which they need to let go of in order to “open to abundance,” because after all, “money is just energy.” But I honor them for their concerns. I’m glad they’re concerned. I think we could all stand to be much more concerned and outraged by the atrocities that are happening.

How do we sustain ourselves and live true to our politics and spiritual beliefs, in an economic system that is, at its core, is out of alignment with both? It’s an important question. I encourage people to get in touch with how much money is enough for them and what amount of money feels right to charge for what they’re offering, based on their needs. And to be okay with the fact that they have needs too and that, in this day and age, money is the most common and useful tool for meeting many of those needs.

We all need to eat and have a place to live, and it’s okay to have those needs. Should we feel guilty about building a business based on exploiting others and the Earth? Yes. Should we feel guilty about having needs and doing our best to meet them in a low impact way? No.

LK: Please talk about activist burnout and explain how it manifests in unsustainable business models.

TH: Do-gooders have a common pattern that I call “collapsing.” Collapsing is when we operate from a lose/win perspective, with this idea that the needs of others matter more than ours and, since there is so much need in the world, we don’t get to have needs. The mentality becomes, “I’ll take care of my own needs once everyone else’s needs are met.”

This consistently results in burnout and resentment. You see people saying, “I give so much to my community, and where are they now?” They’re busy doing what you could have been doing along the way, looking after themselves.

The ability to be composed and comfortable in our skin gives us the space to step back and come up with the best possible strategy to have the impact we want. Panic is not a strategy. Hope is not a strategy. People who are collapsed do not build sustainable enterprises. They do not create employment opportunities for other people.

LK: What are some of the basic principles of marketing one’s business without losing one’s soul?

TH: The core principle is this: Focus always on the truth of, “Is it a fit?” Make this your core agenda. If your hidden agenda is to “get the sale,” your marketing will always feel off in some way. It’s hard to put lipstick on that pig. People feel it. If your entirely transparent agenda is to see if it’s a fit to work together, then your marketing will consistently feel refreshing, respectful and wonderful to people.

But that means you need to really know who is a perfect fit for you. Like, really know. Once you know that, then the next question is to ask yourself where to find them. What are the hubs for them? Where do they already spend their time, money and attention? What groups are they a part of? What social media do they use? Who are the people who they are already connected to who they respect?

Hubs are everything in marketing. They make any tactic work better. They’re at the heart of good marketing strategy. Sure, writing articles for your own website is a great idea. You know what’s a better idea? Writing articles that are posted on websites visited by tens of thousands of your ideal clients. Similarly, promoting your own speaking gigs is a great idea, but it is better to speak at a conference full of thousands of your own clients you could have never reached on your own.

LK: How does marketing blend spirituality and success?

TH: There’s an old adage in marketing. “The confused mind says no.” What we want most from our marketing is clarity. When we have clarity, marketing works, and when we don’t, it doesn’t. If we use marketing as a spiritual path of clarifying what we’re about, that clarity shows up through more precision and effectiveness in our work, more results, and more clients, which means we get more practice, et cetera. Marketing makes us better at what we do.

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About Loolwa

Loolwa KhazzoomLoolwa Khazzoom has worked with leading media outlets, including The New York Times, CNN, Rolling Stone, and ABC News. In addition, she has published two books and has lectured at prestigious venues including Barnard Center for Research on Women, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Harvard University. Loolwa is passionate about health, music, dance, multiculturalism, and Judaism.

Holistic Media, Marketing, PR

Loolwa Khazzoom is a a public relations manager specializing in holistic media, holistic marketing, holistic public relations, and holistic promotions. Her services include branding and messaging development, image and communications management, website content development and optimization, social media management, traditional media campaign management, book development, and in-house writing and editing.

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