One rock stacked upon another, just like Yin is stacked upon Yang

Yin and Yang in Marketing

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In traditional philosophy, Yin as the female archetype is associated with emotions, intuition, letting go and the natural flow of life. Meanwhile, Yang is the male archetype and represents action, force, and power.

Both archetypes co-exist, but balance between them is needed to create harmony and successful business growth.

In marketing, incorporating both the Yin and Yang energies is essential to developing genuine connections that are mutually beneficial for the company and its customers.

Yang energy in marketing

The male archetype represents the creation of something new. It drives marketing strategies and project roadmaps from a piece of paper through to execution. This energy can manifest in the development of metrics, KPIs and quarterly targets designed to track and optimise performance.

Yang energy also rules the realm of data-driven marketing and technology. Search engine advertising, multi-channel digital campaigns and analytics tools are all part of the male side of the marketing equation.

In Yin-driven areas of marketing, such as content creation, the male archetype will show in action-oriented writing, such as sales pages, and features like headlines and call-to-actions.

Companies with a dominant Yang energy

In some companies, marketing suffers from a bias towards the Yang energy. This can lead to an overemphasis on action, for example, marketers trying to achieve specific metrics by force, rather than investing in the long-term relationships with their customers. In doing so, marketers may disregard the time buyers need to consider an offer or the emotions they face throughout their interactions with the business.

Another common issue in companies with a Yang-dominated energy is the overreliance on tooling at the expense of the customer experience – as seen on many webpages with poorly implemented, hard-to-use AI-based chat functions.

Purely fact-driven communication, with little appeal to emotion, is also a key feature of Yang-dominated businesses.

Yin energy in marketing

The female archetype represents a nurturing space in which new ideas, concepts and strategies can develop. It provides room for thought and creativity in the marketer’s mind and allows them to explore what sowing seeds for a particular idea might look like.

The Yin energy can manifest in the creation of places where ideas can be gathered and where experimentation on a small scale is possible, such as sandboxes and drawing boards.

It also associated with creative pursuits such as visualisation, fantasy and design, and often adds a softer, abstract quality to the linear ideas and logical structures brought forward by Yang energy.

Yin domains in marketing encompass copy- and video editing, free-flowing conversation with focus groups and light-hearted interactions, such as sharing ideas, or nurturing relationships on social media.

Companies with a strong Yin energy

When a company’s Yin energy becomes too strong, its marketing may lose momentum. This can manifest in a reactive, or even passive, attitude towards marketing activities, including communications. As a result, the business may not be able to respond effectively to mentions in the press or requests and interactions from potential buyers and existing customers.

Yin-dominated companies may also over-rely on their team’s intuition in decision-making, and hence stick with or adopt marketing strategies that do not deliver meaningful results for the business.

Communications from companies with a strong Yin quality may fail to encourage their audience to take appropriate action, as seen on landing pages and ads that fail to convert due to the lack of a CTA.

Integrating Yin and Yang in marketing

A holistic approach to marketing combines the strengths of Yin and Yang and applies both energies flexibly.

For this, it helps when a team recognises the value of both archetypes and can bring them together in a harmonious way.

At a strategic level, this shows in a marketing plan that allow for times of activity as well as periods of rest, recuperation and reflection.

Ideally, a business will also be able to strike a balance between Yin-focussed and Yang-focussed marketing activities, and integrate both qualities into multiple channels simultaneously. For example, a business can use technology (Yang) to support genuine connections (Yin), or make time for creative wordplay (Yin) when setting up advertising campaigns (Yang).

For quick reference, I’ve created a rough list of Yin and Yang-focussed marketing activities:

(More) Yang-focussed marketing-activities:

  • Marketing reporting and analytics
  • Testing, tracking and optimising campaigns
  • Landing page, CTA and sales writing
  • Enhancing marketing technology (e.g. automation, integration with sales tools)
  • Search engine optimisation
  • Advertising – direct response, banner ads, search engine advertising
  • AI-driven marketing (e.g. natural language processing, chatbots, etc.)

(More) Yin-focussed marketing activities:

  • Employer branding and community engagement
  • Writing blogposts, whitepapers, etc.
  • Social media engagement
  • Participating in industry podcasts
  • Design and visual creation
  • Branding

How can you find out whether you are in balance or whether you need more Yin or Yang energy?

Here are some signs that the male archetype dominates your marketing:

  • You and your team continuously feel stressed by deadlines
  • You obsess over arbitrary metrics and targets and feel pressure to perform
  • You feel guilty if you take a break at work or allow yourself to let your thoughts wander
  • You value and compensate Yin-focussed roles (e.g. content writers, graphic designers, brand managers) less than Yang-focussed roles (e.g. marketing automation specialists, marketing technologists, SEA managers)
  • You sacrifice building relationships based on trust and mutual respect for short-term gains
  • You meet conversion targets, but prospects see you as cold, harsh, arrogant or unapproachable
  • You may have an overly-direct or aggressive communication style
  • You believe that you would succeed if you only had the right tooling – when you already have some of the best marketing tech you could wish for

Here are some signs that the female archetype dominates your marketing:

  • You are afraid of taking action and seeing quick results
  • You shy away from marketing tools, even when they speed up repetitive tasks or save you a ton of money
  • You don’t have any systems, goals, or targets in place to see if your marketing works and how it could be improved
  • You don’t get much of a response from prospects or customers (if you communicate with them on a regularly at all)
  • Your communications feel intangible, and at worst, seem to show you in a fantasy world
  • Great ideas stay on your drawing board for years – instead of feeding your marketing activities

How can you balance Yin and Yang energy?

Balancing Yin and Yang energy starts with appreciation for the qualities of both the masculine and the feminine archetype. It means seeing these two poles as equal, yet opposite sides of a spectrum, both of which are needed for harmonious marketing activities designed to succeed in the long-term.

This begins with changing beliefs and challenging false assumptions, no matter how wide spread, until you find that they are in sync with the principles of Yin and Yang.

For example:

  • Do you believe that the financial success of your marketing campaigns is more important than the wellbeing of your team and customers? (= thinking that favours Yang energy)
  • Do you believe that if you simply wait long enough your customers will find you, even if without much action on your part (=thinking that favours Yin energy)

A more integrated perspective would acknowledge that revenue is just as important as happiness and wellbeing, and that combining outward communication with times where you sit back let customers find you will lead to the best overall results.

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