At certain points in your life, it’s wise to take a step back, to reflect on why you went down the career path you did… what you dreamed would come of it… and whether those dreams are being fulfilled. Marketing consultant Carolyn Tate did exactly that, and decided to make a U-turn. Now she’s totally focused on marketing from the inside out and she recommends eye care professionals do the same
“I’d worked in corporate marketing within financial services for 12 years then I’d stopped, had a baby, divorced and run my own marketing company for 10 years. But I was sick and tired of the ‘smoke and mirrors’ world of marketing. Everyone was competing with their messages, fighting for the dollar, driving prices down…”
Feeling like her work wasn’t making a difference, Carolyn Tate decided there was no future in this price-driven activity – either for her or for businesses. So after 20 years at the top of her profession, she just stopped. She gave it all up – her profession, her business, her Sydney home – and started over.
“As traditional marketers, when we need to sell more, we simply turn up the volume and the frequency of our promotions and add to the already over-polluted marketing atmosphere.”
I don’t believe that marketing and advertising is evil. It’s an essential ingredient of any free-market economy. It’s just that the fundamentals of good marketing have been completely lost and destroyed
“Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe that traditional marketing and advertising is wrong. It’s an essential ingredient of any free-market economy. It’s just that the fundamentals of good marketing have been completely lost and destroyed.”
Over the past two years, Ms. Tate has built an education business modelled on the global ‘conscious marketing revolution’.
“Conscious marketing is not about corporate social responsibility or philanthropy,” she said. “It’s about building something fundamentally good and compelling right into the heart of your business and your products and services so that people simple want to join your ‘tribe’ and tell everyone about you.”
Ms. Tate said conscious marketing should be a natural commercial strategy for eye health professionals.
“If you’re an optometrist and you find you’re being sucked into a retail focused world where the only way to compete with the five practices down the road is on price, you will inevitably make yourself entirely dispensable. It’s a one-way road.
“Instead you need to stop and reflect on your purpose as an optometrist – on those original reasons behind your career choice. Optometry practices are first and foremost customer care businesses, existing to help people enjoy clear vision and quality of life. Once you take this approach, once you deliver the care and service that makes a difference to people’s lives, you’ll begin to re-engage all the people around you – your family, employees, suppliers, investors, local community – and these people will become your tribe, helping you to build the product offering and attract more patients to your practice.”
Ms. Tate tells the story of an optometrist she met recently who was trying everything to increase business leads – from quarterly newsletters and Christmas cards to blogs and event invitations. Nothing was working.
“I wanted to say to him, stop being an unconscious binge marketer and treating your patients as merely a means to fill your wallet. Start marketing from the inside out. What is your purpose? What do you stand for? How do you make a real difference to the lives of your patients? What is so good about your practice, your service and your products that will make patients really love you and do the marketing for you?
The Cycle of Conscious Marketing
The four ‘P’s of marketing we were taught in Commerce 101 were price, promotion, product and place, but
Ms. Tate has five Ps which are quite different. At the heart of the Cycle of Conscious Marketing are: personal, purpose, product, people and promotion.
Ms. Tate says at the heart of making sound business and marketing decisions is your ongoing hunger for personal growth and development, and your commitment to the daily evolution of your awareness and consciousness. “Successful business owners and leaders understand absolutely that business success is 50 per cent personal and 50 per cent professional. Without a commitment to personal learning and growth, you may profit in the short term but you’ll never achieve long-term success,” she said.
“This is all about WHY you do what you do,” said Ms. Tate. “It’s about defining at the core what you stand for and how your business will make a difference in the world. Once you’ve done this, all your messages and communications, both internally and externally, become aligned with your purpose, or your cause. Your company in effect becomes a cause leader in your profession. A good place to start with purpose is to ask ‘What’s so broken about my profession that needs fixing?’ Then go fix it.”
Ms. Tate recommends practices build a service that is so compelling that people can’t resist taking it up. “This is where we really work hard on ensuring our packaging, pricing, service and all other customer touch points are fine-tuned to perfection. When you get this right, people will want to know more and word-of-mouth becomes your primary source of new business.”
She said tailoring the product or service to the specific needs of your ideal customer or patient, then engaging all stakeholders to support you in its delivery – such as staff, suppliers and your community – is essential. “Your tribe doesn’t need to be huge, in fact the more niche and tight you are around who you serve, the better. Your tribe just needs to love you and be aligned with your purpose,” said Ms. Tate.
“If you continually focus on marketing from the inside out by working on the Purpose, Product and People segments repeatedly, the Promotional activity becomes almost effortless,” she said.
“You’ll be able to take a ‘less is more’ approach and you’ll find yourself out of the unconscious binge
marketing rat race.”
About Carolyn Tate
Carolyn Tate worked in corporate marketing for 20 years (17 years with Westpac and three years with Merrill Lynch) before establishing her own marketing consultancy, writing two books on marketing and sharing her expertise as a professional speaker.
In 2011, disillusioned with the world of marketing, she sold her Sydney home, closed her business and moved to France with her 12-year-old son to undertake some serious “navel gazing”, and write the book Unstuck in Provence.
On her return to Australia, Ms. Tate settled in Melbourne, working for a year with a women’s not-for-profit before determining that she was tired of working in the traditional sphere of marketing and needed to work for herself. Fortuitously, Ms. Tate discovered the globally growing movement
of Conscious Capitalism and decided to investigate. That investigation lead to a change of direction and eight months ago, Ms. Tate established the Slow School of Business in Melbourne, an unconventional business school for people passionate about building a purpose-driven and prosperous business that makes the world a better place.
Carolyn’s latest book, The Conscious Marketing Revolution: Marketing for the 21st Century, was launched this month. Published by Wiley, it is available at: http://carolyntate.co/off-the-shelf/