I purposedly chose the provocative title of "Barbershops, Trading Posts, Coffeehouses, Parisian Salons: How Intimacy Seals Deals" for a session I led at MarCamp held Tuesday at France Telecom/Orange because marketers' intentions are nearly always suspect.
Seals deals? Sounds slimey, eh?
And people sometimes think that's who I am: I'm a role. I am a marketer (pssst, I'm just me). So if I'm a marketer, I must confess that I'm into slow marketing lately. Not that it's necessarily opposed to buzz marketing, but slow marketing is a focus on human, one-on-one connections sans stress ("yikes, will it scale?!?') rather than a focus on the mass, aggregate, broadcast-blast level.
Slow marketing is intricately tied to slow conversation, naked conversations. It's very very old-world. I learned it by osmosis in the piazzas of Italy, the cafes of Vienna, the chicken-buses of Guatemala, and I let it seep inside while chatting on donated furniture in a makeshift wooden shelter where a family that lost everything, including a son, shared tea and cookies and their tears with me.
Slow marketing's a bit harder to map out a concrete campaign for. I had no intention of spending the entire afternoon at Vino Locale in Palo Alto (I was checking them out for an upcoming interview series, and a potential hosted salon). I hadn't anticipated that Mary Beth's favorite book was East of Eden, or that she was a English Lit major/Art History minor who worked in high-tech marketing for 25 years and is working on a novel herself or that Mike Mann of Mann Cellars (yes, they grow wine not just garlic in Gilroy) would walk in and open his silky Syrah 2004 for a tasting or Lynn Fielder, a talented jeweler and art curator for Vino Locale to sit down beside me, or Kirpal, a rosé lover and software entrepreneur, to waltz in after his lunch at Zibbabu because he heard the laughter.
"Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn." - Elizabeth Lawrence (from one of my favorite slow magazines, La Vie Claire)
"No sane adult moves to the Bay Area for the lifestyle," says Paul Kedrosky. He, he, well, my sanity is questionable, but I am living here precisely for the lifestyle. I live a Mediterranean-inspired slow-food life right in the heart of Silicon Valley (yup, I reside near HP and Apple).
And I'm not alone. "There was an increased hunger for connection, and people were eager to find out about these things - the farmer, the fisherman, the cheesemaker," says Jim Denevan of Santa Cruz. Jim's company, Outstanding In the Field, brings one-evening impromptu restaurant right to small farms. In 2004, he took his farmer dinners national rippling out from his Northern California roots.
Denevan says it was modeling in Europe in his twenties that planted the seed: "Seeing the richness there inspired me. When you ate at little cafes and agriturismos, it was all very intimate, very direct. I remember a beautiful old farmhouse with a kitchen garden and vineyards right out the door. It really left an impression." (All Denevan quotes from article "Feasts of the Field", La Vie Claire, Fall 2006)
Slow marketing? Denevan: "It's amazing hearing from the people who make the products, who create the culture of the table. You get to hear the farmers telling their story, how and where they spend their days."
Slow travel? When life is a possible poem, then it becomes one grand adventure. Even marketing. A pilgrimage of discovery, mystery, serendipity, synchronicity, spontaneity. Joy:
For one friend who had difficulty remembering details from his travels, I suggested he take on the task of writing a poem every day during his journey abroad. The daily task proved impossible for him, so he decided to focus his attention on a one-week stretch through Paris, Prague and Florence. To this day, his memories of that time are the fondest of all his travels because, as he has told me, "when everything is a possible poem, the world is suddenly far more interesting." - from The Art of Pilgrimage, by Phil Cousineau
And slow sex? What's the hurry, we'll get around to that eventually too.
p.s. I'd love to go to the next Outstanding in the Field dinner (that is one that's not already sold out). Email if you want to come along too: Details: October 15: Soquel, California at Everett Family Farm (photos from I Love Farms). Guest chef: Justin Severino, who is busy opening his butcher shop, "Pigs in Zen," makes a return appearance to Outstanding in the Field. $150/pp.
images 1) Photo by Wyatt Dexter from Outstanding In the Field's site 2) Gary Ibsen, host of the Carmel Tomato Festival. Mike Mann - "Are you the winemaker?" "I'm the wine grower, salesperson, delivery person too" - reminded me I justed missed the Tomato Festival (slow travelinig in Manhattan). Yet another reason to live in the Bay Area: heirloom tomatoes. Photo by © Tana Butler from I Heart Farms: Stories and Pictures of Real People and Real Food blog (a heavenly slow blog).