You’ve seen the marketing hype and heard all the promises:

Build a Six-Figure Business in just 60 Days!

Or, Fail Fast, Succeed Faster.

There’s even a magazine called Fast Company.

And it’s true: most of us want that income NOW.

We’ve got bills to pay. Kids to send to college. Vacations to take.

And we’re constantly looking for ways to be more productive. To cram more things into our measly 24 hours.

Need to make everything happen yesterday? There’s an app for that.

But the speed of our lives isn’t news.

We’ve been fighting the Cult of Instant Gratification and the Glorification of More for decades.

Did you know the Slow Food movement originated in 1986?

That was nearly THIRTY years ago.

But over that time, the Slow Food movement ushered in all sorts of ancillary types of slow: Slow Cities, Slow Travel, Slow Money, Slow Design. Slow Sex, Even Slow TV.

So why not Slow Marketing?

I asked several folks on Facebook recently how they responded to the term.

Most said they dug the idea of it — but they couldn’t wrap their heads around the name.

“Slow means lazy.” Or, “Slow means I’m spinning my wheels.”

“I don’t want to take a slow boat to China.”

Yep, Slow Marketing has a branding problem.

In business, we already know that success usually takes longer than we’d like.

We pay people (sometimes BIG money) to help us succeed faster.

To avoid the long way around.

To shorten our learning curve.

To get us to our destination before our competitors.

So going slow — even when we know logically that it’s better to be mindful, intentional, and relational — may not feel so attractive.

Folks have suggested we use other terms like “Conscious” or “Mindful” marketing.

Personally, I like the word, “Presence.”

But “Slow” has a decades-long international movement behind it. And that means quite a lot when you’re looking to create (or build on) momentum for changing the way people think about an industry.

Slow Emphasizes Process and Choice.

It’s not about being lazy, stupid, or indecisive. It’s about knowing that the ends don’t justify the means.

So much of our commerce today — especially with publicly traded companies — is about boosting profits at all costs.

Outsourcing talent to the lowest bidder.

But you and I aren’t publicly traded companies.

And we can be lean and agile in ways that they can’t.

One of my very smart colleagues shared that she struggled with the concept of process in terms of how she talked about her copy coaching services.

She’s someone who loves the journey just as much as the destination. But she said, “I know people aren’t buying plane tickets. They’re buying the destination.”

I had to challenge her on that one.

There are lots of different ways to get somewhere.

It’s why we have airline and seating options: you can fly coach, or you can fly first class.

Or, you can skip the planes and drive. Or even take a train.

HOW you get where you’re going is a choice. And it’s a choice you get to make. Only you can decide what kind of journey you’d like to take.

I love the definition of ‘slow’ that comes from Petrini, the founder of the Slow Food movement:

“Being Slow means that you control the rhythms of your own life. You decide how fast you have to go in any context. If today I want to go fast, I go fast. If tomorrow I want to go slow, I go slow. What we are fighting for is the right to determine our own tempos.”

Slow Facilitates Deeper Relationships.

All over the world, people are slowing down to the speed of human. And that’s part of the Slow Movement ideal: connection to people, place, and purpose.

It’s about quality over quantity. Right speed and right timing. (Which, ironically, isn’t always slow.)

4x6_postcard_sa_fAnd it’s perfect for what we do here at Story Bistro: listen deeply. Bloom the connections we’ve already got (rather than seek only to add to their number). And take the time to share our best stories with those who need and want to hear them.

Our unofficial motto is Ubuntu: I am who I am because of who we all are.

Slow is Smartly Balanced. (And in the End, More Profitable).

In Australia, Carolyn Tate’s Slow School of Business is creating waves of positive change.

She says, “Fast-profit and short-term thinking is why business and capitalism has failed humanity and the planet. I started Slow School to help people make mindful, sustainable choices that would benefit everybody. I also believe that prosperity is a far more meaningful measure of success than profit. When we all slow down, we connect more deeply with ourselves, each other and with our communities. That’s where real change happens.”

There’s also the World Institute of Slowness headed up by Geir Berthelsen. (See his video below.)

Both of these organizations work to change the world of business by focusing on a balance of process and profit.

Many of my colleagues here in North America are staunch advocates of this movement, too: Tad Hargrave, Mark Silver, Andrea J. Lee and Racheal Cook, to name just a few.

Racheal says, “I’ve totally found that slow = profits! Especially because instead of chasing a million shiny objects, you get to really go deep into your work. Which leads to better results for you and your clients.”

Here’s what’s interesting: In a Harvard Business Review study, “the companies that embraced initiatives and chose to go, go, go to try to gain an edge ended up with lower sales and operating profits than those that paused at key moments to make sure they were on the right track. What’s more, the firms that ‘slowed down to speed up’ improved their top and bottom lines, averaging 40% higher sales and 52% higher operating profits over a three-year period.”

It’s about taking the long view. Thinking about more than profits for this quarter, but long-term impact AND profits…and how those affect people and place.

In short, it’s building something sustainable. That won’t burn you out (or damage your most precious relationships).

Would you like to build a business that serves you, your life, and your relationships?

First, reframe the idea of Slow for yourself.

Start with this book: “In Praise of Slow,” by Carl Honore.

Watch these two videos:

(If you’re reading this via email, the links you need are here and here.)


And then start a conversation with your peers and colleagues.

Ask them if they’ve heard of the Slow movement. Find out if they’re looking for a way to create deeper, more meaningful relationships with their right people.

You can begin by sharing your thoughts in a comment below. Are there other resources not mentioned here? Do you have ideas or questions? Are you willing to publicly declare yourself a Slow Marketing advocate? Let’s see where our conversation takes us…


This post is part of a group writing project we lovingly call Word Carnivals. This month, we’re tackling the myths and misunderstandings of our particular fields. Read more and get smarter here.