Your Marketing Rituals

2547423465_f1db2aefc9_bI was reading Leo Babauta’s e-book about focus recently, and he was talking about the importance of rituals. He says it is easy to get distracted in this modern age, but when you engage in rituals, you are more likely to be focused and in the moment. He writes:

A ritual is a set of actions you repeat habitually — you might have a pre-bed ritual or a religious ritual or a just-started-up-my-computer ritual. One of the powerful things about rituals is that we often give them a special importance: they can be almost spiritual (and sometimes actually spiritual, depending on the ritual). And when they become special, we are more mindful of them — we don’t just rush through them mindlessly.

And I thought, I bet intrepid marketers have marketing rituals. So let’s examine this idea…

If intrepid marketers (CLICK HERE to learn what an intrepid marketer is) engage in rituals, based on Leo’s writing above, we should assume they are focused. On this point, I don’t think there is any argument. The question then becomes, what are they focused on? And thus, what part of their marketing process is cemented into daily ritual…

Are you focused on the customer? It is my opinion that each business needs to be more customer-focused, and thus, we need to devote more time – each day – to thinking about every customer interaction. We often overlook even the little ways our customers interface with our business.

What to do? Setting a ritual where you review these interactions – on a regular basis – is vital to success of your business. How about creating a series of questions you ask yourself – maybe at the end of each day – that help keep you focused and review how each customer interacted with your business, and how you can improve those. Include everything, from products, to voice mail, to your invoicing process.

Are you creatively focused? If being creative is an important part of your work, and it is for most of us, then ritual is probably a very critical element in your creative process. What does it take to get you in the creative mood? Do you need to remove all distractions, such as email? Twitter? Phones? Do you need to use a specific creative space, such as your studio, coffee shop, or the conference room?

What to do? Figure out what you need and then execute on the ritual so you can deliver your best creative work. And don’t let ANYTHING disrupt the ritual process.

Are you focused on process? Or results? These are two very different things, process and results. How you might ritualize to focus on these two would be different in my opinion.

What to do? First of all, do you have your process committed to paper? Can you measure the results of each step in the process? A regular examination of this process, and ritualizing to determine what is working and what can be improved might be a good thing to always be getting better at what you do.

As for results, well, isn’t this what we are after? Most people are more worried about the process than the results, and that’s why they have NO cash flow. It might be helpful to set a weekly ritual where you focus on thinking through all you are doing to be sure they are leading to actual positive results for your business…

Are you focused on conversation with your marketplace? Is interacting on the social web important to you and your business? Well, then you need a ritual. And I am not talking about getting on Twitter and just doing whatever for several hours.

What to do? What is your goal on the social web? If it is to identify and make relationships with new prospects, then create a ritual where you listen for keywords that are of interest to you, and begin a conversation. Then share information with that new contact. This three-step ritual might work for you. Here is what I do to help bring some sense of ritual to one element of my social web activity.

See, I am thinking most small business people don’t have marketing rituals. We are all too busy trying to manage the mundane and time consuming tasks of running our shop day-to-day. But, if Leo is right and rituals are a set of actions you repeat habitually, then we all need to formulate some new rituals. Life is too hectic, and we probably don’t have the discipline to focus our minds – on a regular basis – on the important things related to our business.

What do you think? What are your rituals? What works for you?

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  • Marna Friedman

    Great post and very timely. I think I may take a minute to read that book to help with marketing my new business. I’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks for the info.

  • Todd Schnick

    If you are referring to the Focus Manifesto, I would highly recommend it. I am reviewing it daily. My crazy whacked life needs some focus. Keep me posted on the new biz. And thanks for coming by!

  • James Ball

    “One of the powerful things about rituals is that we often give them a special importance…” – I love it Todd! I am also a big Leo B. fan and I can certainly appreciate you pointing out his important work on this topic…I’m thinking I need to pay it some more mind today. Thanks for pointing your light at this today Todd.

    I saw that Marna tweeted this article today so I headed right over; it’s something that I pay quite a bit of attention to each day. I don’t necessarily have a ritualistic approach to the things that I do, I am a slave to the lists that I make for myself though. To say that the social web is full of distractions is a bit of an understatement; one HAS to have a clear plan!

    Defining, and making a (marketing) plan or practice look more like ritual is not a bad idea. We really do value and protect our rituals, though many of these are not for our good at all. Bad habits are hard to break because we adopt and lend ourselves to them and we make allowances for them…very ritualistic behavior!

    I don’t know if it was your intent, but this topic and your treatment of it seems to come across as a unique approach that we could take to more clearly define our strategy and tactics. Making something holy, or setting it apart and being unwilling to deviate from it makes perfect sense to me!

  • Todd Youngblood


    Hadn’t really thought of them as rituals before, but it’s actually a very apt description. Here are two things I’ve done for so long, I don’t even need to put them on my TODO list:

    1) Last week of every month – update my 12 month rolling revenue forecast and review the specific action plans in place to make it happen

    2) Every December – Revise and update my business plan. (It’s really quite instructive, and sometimes embarrassing, to look back a plans from 5+ years ago and see what has and has not been accomplished.


  • Todd Schnick

    Hey James, thanks for coming by. And yes, there is something almost spiritual about our rituals, and it seems to me, looking at these important elements in that way are ways we can make them remarkable. Going about them in the usual way just isn’t working for most people. Leo B.’s writing have opened entire news ways for me to look at marketing…

  • Todd Schnick

    Todd, yeah, you strike me as the kind of guy that thinks deeply about these kinds of things in a ritualistic way. Probably why you are who you are.

  • Chris Jordan

    This is a great way to look at marketing, or business in general. Things become more effective when they becomes habit. We are also less reluctant when we do something according to a set routine. I’m also going to check out the Focus Manifesto!

  • Todd Schnick

    Hey Chris, you will enjoy the manifesto. It had an impact on me. And thanks for swinging by!

  • Robyn

    Really enjoyed your post and agree that rituals are important. One of my marketer rituals is that I never assume, I always go to the customer, check the data and make sure I am in close touch with their needs. I worked at a large a company here in town. Mgmt assumed our largest segment was x and no research was required. After a tiny research project that cost us nothing and took little time the data confirmed our largest segment was indeed y. And that the business wasn’t growing because the messages didn’t resonate with y. Just one example I’m sure you have some as well. So I now always start with the facts and the voice of the customer.

  • Todd Schnick

    Robyn, wow. Voice of the customer. How profound! And yet, so many small business people don’t do that bit of research. Thanks for sharing a perfect example of something that should be a very important ritual…

  • Vicentetmb

    I find this topic a very interesting one! 
    I also think you guys should try writing about how we can delivery to our brands the sense of ritualism… What i mean by that is to engage the customer in a ritual process in order to consume our brand, that way the customer will definitely feel part of the brand and that’s where the success of a brand management could lie.

  • Todd Schnick

    yeah, i agree. looking at interaction with a brand as a ritual, certainly would seem to lead to a longer term loyalty to each other (the brand and the customer)…