©2005 Alek Vila. All Rights Reserved.
Monday, March 21, 2005
Finding Your Target Market
Marketing professionals are trained to know the ins-and-outs of human cravings. We look to understand what motivates an audience, and then we use these motivating factors to suggest that you make a purchase, choose a particular lifestyle or support the causes of our clients.
The basic idea by behind marketing is no mystery—1) find what people are looking for, even if it's not what we are selling, 2) use these desires to capture the attention of the audience so 3) we can present whatever it is we have to offer.
It's no mystery why this practice, which seems so devious and cruel, is widely accepted by the public. This I will explain in detail in this document.
Marketing professionals are fishermen (and women) of human beings. In order to understand what people are looking for, the professional seeks to understand human psychology. Many have referred to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs:
- Self-Actualization: To become more of what one is; to be your best;
- Esteem: To achieve mastery of a task; to be praised; to have power;
- Love: A desire to belong to a group; to have camaraderie; to be accepted;
- Safety: To be secure and away from harm;
- Physiological Needs: Air, Water, Food, Sleep, and Stimulation;
With this model, Maslow starts with our most primal fears for survival and moves up the pyramid to the most complex fears of "greatest and most civilized" men and women of our time. Using Maslow's model, marketing professionals cater to what Gary Zukav calls the "five-sensory mode of being" (ref. Seat of the Soul). This is a fear-based perception of the universe.
A New Spin on Marketing
In a fear-based model of the universe, it is easy to imagine that we are on a journey that has an ultimate and final purpose, a point at which our human suffering will end. The fear-based model of the universe contains one Catch-22—because as long as we are operating from fear, we will never know salvation. That is why many of us believe in a future-based salvation... a point beyond death when we are released from suffering and allowed to enter a state of grace.
There is another way of perceiving the universe which is detailed in Zukav's book. This is the "multi-sensory" way of perceiving the universe. From the multi-sensory perspective, one transcends the concept of fear.
The multi-sensory model allows for the possibility that heaven is accessible here and now. The multi-sensory perception of the universe contains an understanding of concepts beyond space and time. Nevertheless, for the purposes of creating a physical model, I have assumed that space and time both exist. Therefore, I will assume that a human being can only occupy one state of existence at a time.
Following this line of thinking, I have reorganized Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs for the multi-sensory perception of the universe. Moving away from the fear-based perspective, I experimented with a variety of models until I finally settled on a circle with four quadrants. I'll call them The Four States of Existence:
This model describes four stages of the life path– Darkness, Awakening, Awareness and Celebration. In this model, each quadrant is mutually exclusive, meaning that one cannot exist in two or more quadrants simultaneously. Each of the Four States of Existence has a unique set of needs associated with it.
For the purpose of further explanation, I have created the following detail image...
The path around the circle describes a rotation through the four states of existence in a linear fashion. Because this is the most logical course, I have named it the Linear Direction of Reason. Of course, the rational path is not the only path. We may jump from one quadrant to another, though it defies logic to do so.
The Four States of Existence
Darkness is a state of ignorance. Celebration is a state of innocence. One may sit immobile in the state of Awareness, which is also the state of God-consciousness in the present moment. Awakening is a transition state between Darkness and Awareness. It earns its own quadrant because it is a potent state of being with a unique set of needs associated with it.
When we are in Darkness, we have only one basic need. This is the need for LOVE. When we have a need for Love, we are lost. We believe that love must come from an outside source. We look to our friends and family for love. We may talk about "pseudo-needs", which are not true needs, but symptoms of our need for Love. Maslow has listed many of these pseudo needs in his model of The Hierarchy of Needs. Examples include: the need for belonging, the need for esteem, the need for self-actualization and the need for sex. These are merely symptoms of the one true need, which is a need to recognize Love, which comes from God and from within before it is reflected in the outside world.
Many marketing professionals and business owners target consumers who are in Darkness. These lost souls are "looking for Love in all the wrong places". When this targeting happens, these business professionals have fallen into Darkness themselves. They are catering to a demographic of needful souls, and to that market, instead of help, they offer convenient pacifiers which serve as distractions from the Linear Direction of Reason around the circle.
Pacifiers do not help guide souls out of Darkness; they are the "occupations" of Darkness. Professionals who serve this market with distractions may claim that they must because it is key to their own survival. They will say "it is what works, if you want to succeed in business". They will call these misleading techniques: time-tested, proven methods for reaching an audience. I believe this rationalization comes from a fear-based perspective and an underlying assumption that success depends on the appetite of souls in the realm of Darkness. This perspective is only possible if the professionals are themselves lost in Darkness and living in fear.
Making an appeal to a soul in Darkness, marketing professionals and business owners often use suggestions of finding self-esteem, sex and camaraderie to sell their products and ideas, even if these products and ideas have nothing to do with self-esteem, sex or camaraderie. Misleading suggestions help to create more disappointment, frustration and anger in the world of Darkness, which helps the world of Darkness to thrive and to grow. Misleading suggestions are fuel for the fires of this realm.
I do not put a value judgment on the state of Darkness or on the souls operating in Darkness. I do not exist to lay blame or issue punishment. I do not say that Darkness is "bad" and Light is "good". I will say this—Darkness is certainly gloomy. Darkness is also rich with anger, frustration, anxiety and fear (which are all beautiful life experiences). Furthermore, I believe that Darkness is necessary.
Without Darkness, we would not know Light. Also and more to the point, one of the fastest and most direct ways out of Darkness is to recognize its beauty. Recognition of beauty is the quickest way out of Darkness and into Awakening.
The Ethics of Marketing
Marketing professionals and business owners have caused the exchange of trillions of dollars around the world with some results being; the rapid deforestation of our rainforests; the contamination of our groundwater and oceans; the torture of animals; and the abuse of human beings (including self-abuse).
I know the torture of self-abuse. I have made purchase decisions based on my perceived need for belonging. I have looked for security in a pair of jeans or a brand of soft drink. I have also contributed to the pain and suffering of others. For example, I have purchased products made from slave labor, and I have promoted factory farming of animals. Regrettably, even now I drive a vehicle that pollutes the air.
As I become aware of the way things work in this world I am humbled over and over again. My ego is vaporized each time I am reminded that "We Are All One" and that: "Love of God is Love of Self and Love for Our Neighbors". As a result, I have worked to erase old habits and to stop the cycle of negative thoughts that create insecurity and fear inside me. I have worked to release myself from fear, which keeps me from realizing my true potential.
I know what it's like to experience each of the four states of existence. I know from first hand experience the various needs that are associated with each of these states. I come from a perspective without value judgment about the realm of Darkness, because this is how I have found peace.
With this document, I offer myself and others a new picture of life and a chance to make different choices about the desired life path. I asked myself the following questions...
- What role do I play as a marketing professional?
- Am I conscious of the potential consequences of my actions?
- Is it possible to be a marketing professional and not to create anger, frustration, pain and destruction in this universe?
The science of marketing is old as time and has been used for all manners of persuasion. If you're in business for yourself and have a desire to market yourself effectively, you may wish to consider a new model of understanding the true needs of the human population. If you seek power, be ready for the responsibility that comes with that power. Understand that true power comes from Love, and not force.
There's much more to learn about marketing than just how to get it done... there's also what to do with marketing skills. A new perspective on the nature of the universe can affect the way we approach marketing and what we choose to sell.
Marketing for the 21st Century
In science, it has been proven that the act of observation changes what is observed. Another way to say this is that the act of observation is an act of creation. Whatever you seek, ye shall find.
A human being can be labeled as existing in any one of the four states at any given time. No matter how you label a person, you will find what you are looking for. Why not choose to look for Awakening, Awareness or Celebration instead of Darkness? By changing our marketing practices from marketing to those in Darkness to marketing to those in the state of Celebration, we will literally create Celebration on this planet.
Why do we persist in marketing to the needful? Well, how many marketing professionals are prepared to market effectively to a person that doesn't have needs? And what do you sell to someone that doesn't have needs? Isn't that a preposterous notion? What marketing professionals and business owners need is a new school of thought.
Everyone has needs. Our needs exist as a result of where we are in our lives. Those in Darkness have a need for one thing only, and that is Love. They perceive themselves as having needs for belonging, esteem, safety and sex, but these are "pseudo-needs". Marketing to "pseudo-needs" is a disservice to the soul that is ready to exit Darkness.
Moving out of Darkness is easy under the right conditions, and many of us do it all the time, at least for a moment. The easy way out of Darkness is to recognize its beauty. This works because the recognition of beauty is a form of recognizing Love.
The next step along the Linear Direction of Reason is Awakening. More than any other state of existence, Awakening is a definitive state of transition. It can passed through instantaneously, or it may require an entire lifetime to move through.
In the state of Awakening we experience a specific kind of euphoria. This euphoria is extremely powerful and addictive. In fact, I believe that some of us fall from a state of Celebration, returning to Darkness, in order to rediscover our connection to God and to experience this euphoria again and again.
Awakening is also a source of powerful, gut-wrenching emotion that occurs when the old Self is destroyed and replaced by a new Self. This emotion is grief. People in the state of Awakening are the central target market for self-help books, counseling services, dance, yoga, etc. Souls in the state of Awakening may be passionate art lovers and avid readers. Some of the greatest stories ever told are about some kind of Awakening.
Eventually, people become sick-and-tired of anger, frustration and pain. This is the point when they are ready to leave the state of Darkness. Often times, as they begin to naturally move into Awakening, they also begin to feel the emotion of grief as they shed their old selves. At this point, some folks begin to feel fear, which may cause them to pull back into Darkness.
"Awareness" is another name for the state of "present-moment God-consciousness". In the state of Awareness, there are no emotions. In the state of Awareness, we are barely alive. It is a living death. We cannot act. We cannot feel. We cannot do. This is not gloomy like Darkness, because there is no sadness in God-consciousness. The state of Awareness is also beautiful. It is a necessary consciousness. It is the blank canvas before beginning a new work of art.
Rather than face the fear of grief which is associated with Awakening, many souls desire to jump directly to the state of Awareness from Darkness. Some souls are able to simulate this jump through meditation. Meditation is a way of passing easily through Awakening with only the most subtle experience of euphoria and grief. Other souls turn to drugs and alcohol as a way of anesthetizing emotions while vaporizing the ego to attain God-consciousness. Drugs and alcohol may provide a glimpse of Awareness, but do not provide a lasting experience of God-consciousness. Benefits of drug use are limited to the physical duration of the drug experience. That is why drugs and alcohol become addictive.
Can you see how interwoven the fabric of life is? Can you see how destructive it is to market alcohol to a person in the state of Darkness? Think about it for a moment. What path might a person take if not for the suggestion of safety, belonging and sex in the marketing of drugs and alcohol?
Healthy souls in the state of Awareness are avid seekers of tools and services which help them maintain a connection to peace and relaxation. Examples of products that can be marketed to this population include music, jacuzzi's, relaxation centers, massage services, and more. The possibilities are endless. We have only seen the tip of the iceberg in today's economy. Even now, this market is exploding.
Life is rich with irony. The greatest irony is that the purpose of life is to have fun and enjoy the riches we are blessed with. Our riches are at hand right now at this very moment, and we squander the moment with a fear-based perspective of the universe. Once a soul has found Love, awakened to a God-consciousness and cleared the canvas, he or she is ready to have a good time. This is the setting for the next state of existence... this is the state of "Celebration".
Celebration is what happens when, operating as conscious, whole beings, we truly enjoy ourselves in the garden of earthly delights. While operating from Love, we can truly relish in the beauty of this Earthly paradise. Our eyes can enjoy the contrast and interplay of solid colors, blends, curves, angles, lines, and patterns. Our ears can enjoy the contrast and interplay of frequencies, loudness, duration, and timbre. Our skin can enjoy rough, smooth, dry, wet. Our noses can enjoy all manner of fragrances. Our mouths can experience sweet, sour, pungent, bitter, and savory. Finally, through our sixth sense (the one that is yet to be explained) we can experience warmth, cold, and movement of energy within and outside of ourselves.
How does one market to the Celebratory? I would say it's quite simple. We're already good at it. We just have to apply what we already know in a conscious manner. It is simply to find the beauty of this world and to share this beauty with others.
Great Marketing—Right Now.
I see a worldwide phenomenon of spiritual evolution taking place right now. I see many others like me, successfully finding love inside of themselves, clearing their canvases and sharing beauty with others. I see that this group is the majority, not the minority. I see that America is ready for a new type of marketing that acknowledges our spiritual journeys and our true needs along the way.
It is time to describe events in terms of cause and effect and not to judge. Using outdated models, marketing professionals and business owners are operating unconsciously, from fear-based perspectives. They are catering to symptoms of problems rather attempting to cure the disease. It is time for this practice to end.
There are good reasons that lost souls put up with being lied to and otherwise mislead. When we are in Darkness, we are drawn to distractions like moths to a flame. These distractions are powerful because they seem to be the paths of least resistance.
Within one lifetime, we may wind around the circle thousands of times. From Celebration, it may be easy to fall into Darkness. From Darkness, it may be easy to rise to Awakening. Distractions in the realm of Darkness, despite being illusions, may cause the exit from Darkness to seem difficult. With that in mind, it is the responsibility of the powerful to help eliminate distractions so that lost souls may easily find lasting joy.
One might ask why I did not use a pyramid or stair-step model to illustrate the four states of existence. I did at first, but then I realized that creating a hierarchy of good and evil is in-and-of-itself another cause of the fall into Darkness. It is said that to speak the name of the devil is to create the devil. I will do my best to avoid calling Celebration a "higher" state of existence (though I may slip on occasion). Up and down are irrelevant. What is up and what is down anyway?
Many people do not follow the Linear Path of Reason around the circle, I might have used a square or rectangular model. Personally, I prefer the simplicity of the circle. I also prefer to acknowledge the existence of the logical path around the circle. The logical path is, for me, the true path of least resistance, and for me, a source of great joy.
Thank you for reading this document. I hope it has been enjoyable.
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