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What The Wisdom of the Toltec Shamans Can Teach Us About Marketing
By Emily Lai | Associate Media Manager
“The Wisdom of the Shamans” by Don Ruiz Jr. has been my go-to bed time read this week. It shares stories from the author’s family line of Toltec shamans, an ancient civilization in Mexico that lived before the Aztecs.
The Toltecs, along with the Indian Vedic Aryans believe we are currently in The Fifth World Age, meaning the world has been destroyed and rebuilt four times before. They see these cycles in all of aspects of life: through the trees, seasons, ocean tides, the way the moon rotates, and civilizations.
Where most of us perceive time to be linear, the Toltecs see time as cyclical.
This concept is akin to the Wheel of Time, which is also prominent in other ancient religions traditions from Hinduism to Buddhism.
I can identify these cycles on a micro and macro level for myself and the world around me. I see it in my sleep which I track religiously, my intraday caffeine highs and lows, and social shifts in culture and technology.
A quote from the Toltec teachings stuck out to me:
“When we view life as cyclical rather than linear, we can see the futility of trying to control the tides of life. When we are aware that all things will collapse, alter, and change, we don’t try and hold on to them as tightly.”
Whether you believe time is linear or that the Earth is flat, you may be wondering how this relates to marketing.
You see, all campaigns, A/B tests, and product successes also run on a cycle. Your creatives may be gaining conversations until your potential customers get tired of seeing your ads. Your audience targeting only works until a majority of it has been reached and saturated. Your product only hits record sales until the next innovation arrives.
On Facebook, a myriad of variables can be tested from audience targeting, creatives, bidding strategies, and landing pages. Layered with back-end funnels, other channels, and beta features platforms roll out, the land for pivoting and testing is endless.
I imagine if the Toltecs could draw a picture of the cyclicality of time and life, it would look something like this:
Look familiar? This is actually Ray Dalio’s zoomed out Feedback Loop from his famous Principles. The downward spiral indicates failure, or the end of a cycle to a birth of a new one.
A seasoned marketer is relentlessly testing.
This marketer is designing their next test while their current test is working.
This marketer isn’t attached to the outcome, but the process.
Like the Toltecs, a marketer who recognizes the cycles of their campaigns doesn’t hold onto that high ROAS so tightly, and instead, uses the data to innovate and continue to cycles upward.