Consumption and business models rely heavily on speed now. In order to remain relevant, businesses have to be agile, consumers alert. Products are in constant evolution, consumer’s attention-span in constant decline. Pictures instantly appear and disappear on Snapchat. Hotel deals only last 24 hours. iPhones are obsolete after a year.
The “slow” movement is a reaction to the dictat of speed and disposability of everything and everyone, and you are now likely to hear about “slow marketing”. What is it, what does it mean, and is it around to stay?
Slow marketing goes by the principles of the slow movement. Like in the “Tortoise and the hare”, the slow movement advocates the supremacy of doing things slowly and its benefits over the long term. Ever heard of slow food, slow fashion, slow cities? They are part of a global cultural shift to slow down life’s pace.
Slow marketing follows the same principles of mindfulness, meaningfulness and long-term orientation in marketing practice.
“Slow marketing aims to drive purposeful, quality, engaging and clever marketing plans and content” M. Burpee, Dell EMEA Healthcare Marketing & Strategy Director
Trying to understand the concept, I have read a bit on the topic, and here is how I think we can summarise the slow marketing principles:
- Have a purpose beyond profit, values you care for and are committed to,
- Take time to know your audience and consumers’ wants and motivations thoroughly,
- Create relationships, not transactions,
- Don’t disturb the consumers with unwanted content: use pull strategies.
It might seem like I’m talking about doing marketing out of a cave, with blissful ideas completely out of tune with reality. Those who have started applying the principles of slow marketing, like DELL, realise full well that you cannot go ahead by ignoring the way consumers act and react, their heavy use of instant technology and the very little time they have for you. I really like the way Nicola Kemp in Marketing Magazine puts it:
“Slow marketing is not about retreating into old models or simply advocating a digital switch-off, but, instead, respecting the value of consumers’ time”.
So, is slow marketing here to stay?
Although the word might be relatively new, and the idea of slow starting to gain traction in all areas of life, I don’t think that slow marketing is new: it’s just a fancy tag we placed on something people have been doing for ages (hey, that’s what we do, right?). To me, it’s about marketing with ethics, with respect for your consumers and society at large. It’s then reflected in the way you communicate, advertise and engage your audience.
I think the concept is getting more attention now because it acts in contrast to the ever faster pace of the consumption environment, but it is definitely not a fad.
Read more on “slow”: