Ever hear of Integral Theory or the Integral Movement? If not, you may have heard of one its founding leaders, American philosopher Ken Wilbur. In a nutshell, (which won’t do the theory justice, so consider this merely an introduction) Integral theory embodies “comprehensive (holistic) approaches to reality, a metatheory that attempts to explain how academic disciplines and every form of knowledge and experience fit together coherently.” Wikipedia
Applying Integral Theory to marketing would require businesses to consider individual subjective (values), the individual objective (behavior), the collective subjective (culture) and the collective objective (systems) as marketing strategies and programs are developed.
For example, Integral theorists have some interesting explanations for the rise of the Green Movement, why there is grid lock in Congress and where consumer buying trends are headed in the future. In the opinion of Integral theorists, it’s all an outgrowth of human and cultural psychological growth development, or the evolution of humankind. (www.Integrallife.com )
According to Scooter Davis of The Board Magazine, “Using these four elements in marketing helps determine strategy, follow through, methods of communication, and the other whys and wherefores of a quality advertising campaign.”
And Tiffany Brown, of Holistic Marketing Concepts for Business adds, “Because Ken’s Wilber’s Integral theory lies at the very heart of having a holistic marketing approach to business, this is an important framework for marketers (specifically: marketing managers) to understand because Integral theory offers a new way to recognize and reconcile the scope and complexities of marketing activities.”
Many Integral experts believe consumers are moving from a Post-Modern to an Integral value-based future. In “Consumer Shift” by Futurist Andy Hines, he presents evidence as to why he believes this evolution is taking place. Hines says consumer values are changing so significantly, they are reshaping the societal landscape. Based on what he is seeing, marketers will have to adjust and adapt to this shift in values, creating new strategies and tactics that engage consumers much differently than in the past.
No one can deny the world is changing at an accelerating rate. Integral theory offers a framework based on agility, flexibility and holistic best practices that marketers should consider as they strive to effectively manage this change. Integral marketing is the next evolution in your industry. Are you ready?
Terry Collins is a Houston-based Futures consultant and a lecturer at the University of Houston’s College of Technology. She has published numerous articles on Integral Futures and scenarios, and presented at the World Futures Society’s annual conference in 2008, 201o and 2012 on: “Wind Energy,” “Live Futures: Creating Sustainable Futures through Collaboration and Co-Creation,” “How Futuring is Changing Lives,” and “The Evolution of Integral Futures.” Terry has a B.A. in Philosophy, 35 years as a geophysicist, and a Master’s in Technology, Futures Studies, from the University of Houston. Contact her at IntegralFutures@aol.com.