Slow marketing: fact or fad?

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?

trotoise-hareSlow 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”:






Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Haitham Al-Sheeshanyreply
August 3, 2015 at 5:13 pm

Good read.
I think it is gaining momentum but still lacks “believability” on the part of consumers. Partly, as you said, because it is/should be there from the beginning. We expect it to be in the DNA of delivering products/services process. Also, and related, the substitutes along with confidence on the part of those consumers are easily shuffled. This makes it a hard balance to strike for marketers.

If slow marketing is just a short-term mean for dragging the consumer then it will be costlier than integrating it into the system!

August 4, 2015 at 7:14 pm
– In reply to: Haitham Al-Sheeshany

I really share your view Haitham, if slow marketing is really engrained in the way a company engages with consumers from the start, then I think it can be a winner. If it’s just to be trendy but not really part of the company’s values, then it’s lie green-washing: consumers won’t be fooled.

Haitham Al-Sheeshanyreply
August 5, 2015 at 10:14 am
– In reply to: laurencedessart

Just like anything else, this needs to fight for prioritisation and after that for sustaining a place. Being a new notion makes it a tad harder 🙁

August 9, 2015 at 5:39 pm

Hello Laurence! I really like your post on slow marketing! I never heard about it, but I am happy to read it also exists for marketing. I think the Slow Movement is becoming bigger and bigger, we start to talk about slow everything because people need it. At the end, my opinion is that people need RESPECT. We’ve been in a growing economy in which consumption and profit was the first goal, putting aside respect for people, and for the environment. Today we know and we need respect. Fashion, food, design, architecture, slow and respect can be hopefully easily applied to our everyday life, and I hope fast everything will slowly disappear… 🙂

August 9, 2015 at 8:20 pm
– In reply to: Steph

Thanks a lot for reading and for sharing your views Steph 😊 I think it’s a mindset more than a movement, and I agree with you that we need it. Being profitable is definitely important, but not at any price.

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