Marie Forleo, Tara Stiles, Gabrielle Bernstein & Kris Carr: How the Miracle Mafia is Taking Over the Mindful Marketplace from the Inside Out.

Via Jeanne Eisenhaure
on Jan 21, 2013
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Marie Forleo, Tara Stiles, Gabrielle Bernstein, Kris Carr - The Miracle Mafia

While they may not refer to themselves that way, there is a Miracle Mafia spawning from the greater New York City region.

These are young ambitious women guiding (mostly) other young ambitious women to lead happier, healthier, and yes, miraculous lives. The Godmothers I’ve selected for the Miracle Mafia are Marie Forleo, Tara Stiles, Gabrielle Bernstein, and Kris Carr.

I don’t recall my first interaction with the Miracle Mafia, but I believe it started with Kris Carr, and, through the power of YouTube and the tight-knitedness of the Miracle Mafia, I discovered Gabby Bernstein, Tara Stiles, and most recently Marie Forleo. They all have slightly different angles targeting a similar audience—basically me: female, youngish, professionally ambitious, health conscious and striving for a happy and fulfilling life, with one caveat:

I’m not someone who would normally use the term miracle, and yet these women still won me over.

As someone who wants to see healthier, happier people in the world, I like their message; but as a marketer, I appreciate their business savvy.

The Miracle Mafia gets inbound marketing.

For those unfamiliar with the term inbound marketing or permission marketing, it focuses on gaining the ‘permission’ of your prospects by giving away valuable content, whereas traditional marketing or ‘interruption marketing’ focuses on forcing a message down your prospects’ throats (think commercials, bill boards, many pop-up and banner ads, etc.). Through their inbound marketing, the Miracle Mafia has cultivated a loyal band of followers or ambassadors, if you will.

This core ambassador group is key to your business success; this is what marketing guru Seth Godin would call your Tribe. For a small business or any business that wants to gain market share, you don’t want to sell to just anyone; you want to sell your remarkable products or services to remarkable people—your Tribe. The Miracle Mafia does just that. They don’t target mainstream consumers; they target their Tribes using channels and tools that these individuals use, i.e., new media such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blogs, USTREAM, etc.

Let’s dive in and do a quick run down of how the Miracle Mafia is leveraging video to begin taking over the mindful marketplace.

If they see you, they will come.

All of these women are YouTube regulars, who contribute regular vlogs (video blogs) typically once per week if not more. Why are vlogs smart marketing? First, the Miracle Mafia’s target customer is fairly tech savvy, and regular and consistent vlogs are a great way to build a direct relationship with this audience. Why does this matter? People buy things from people they like. I personally have purchased books, guided meditations, and attended a live event—despite the fact that 90 percent of their content is already available free from them! Here are a few strategies the Miracle Mafia have used to leverage video for their brands.

Stay on Message…or Don’t

The Miracle Mafia does not have a consistent vlogging strategy; however, there are two ends of the spectrum in utilizing YouTube videos. On one side there is Marie Forleo, who does the best job leveraging her videos for business. She answers fans’ questions every Tuesday in a silly short video with a few key elements:

  1. Consistency. Her videos are always live on Tuesday and she reminds the new viewer that she is reliable.
  2. Valuable Content. She helps me solve my business issues, with the occasional small pitch for her products.
  3. Social Leverage. Marie includes “tweetables”—short quotes during the episodes that fans can tweet—this helps her fans build their own social presence giving them a quick freebee to tweet (and ideally credit her, of course).
  4. A Call to Action: At the end of every video she asks viewers to sign up for her newsletter (for exclusive content, of course), and to engage in a discussion on her website. I’ve actually been to her website and read through discussions; they were helpful.

On the other side of the spectrum is the freer-flowing vlogger and uber-YouTuber, Tara Stiles. Tara’s strategy seems to be: Do what you love, even if it’s a little outside of your mission. Many of you know Tara Stiles as a yoga instructor, which she is, but on YouTube she is also a chef, knitter, meditation guide, and travel vlogger. It is clear that Tara loves YouTube and she has 80,000+ subscribers to prove it. While normally I would say ‘stay on brand’ and stick to what you know, Tara’s prolific YouTube contributions allow her to create a huge number of videos for yoga as well as videos for her other hobbies. I actually think Tara’s style works well because we, again, get to know her better as a person, and she seems super-likable. Last time I was in New York, I planned a trip to her class at her studio Strala Yoga, just because I wanted to meet her (I hope this does not come across as stalker-esque, because it was totally innocent).

What Competition? Try Co-opetition.

I don’t watch Oprah, but I watched Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday to see my Gabrielle Bernstein and Marie Forleo discuss their mission and business with another Miracle Mafioso, Mastin Kipp. They described their relationship targeting the same audience as co-opetition, that there is enough pie for everyone and they need to spread the message far and wide.

This cross promotion through collaborating on vlogs, blogs and in events makes them more powerful in business.

After all, I learned about each of them through another one, and have bought products from most. I love this idea of co-opetition; however, I must admit I have a burning desire to know what those contract negotiations are like!

Take events virtual.

Events and speaking engagements, both live and virtual, are pillars of the Miracle Mafia’s success. These women have successfully leveraged virtual event platforms like USTREAM and live video streaming platforms to grow their audience with little overhead. Gabrielle Bernstein regularly offers live events that those outside of the area can attend virtually. This allows her to book a space for say 200 people and have revenue from 5,000 attendees. Why would people pay to attend a virtual event? Good inbound marketing of course! Gabrielle has put many hours of video of her speaking events on her site on YouTube and Vimeo; by doing this she gave away a taste of the energy she brings to her live events as part of her good inbound marketing. The result was that those who saw videos of her events opted in to attend a live event EVEN when not in person. Virtual events are a great way to grow your audience with a low-cost threshold for attendees.

Promote yourself, but not too much.

I’ve heard the criticism that these women are too self-promotional. For the most part I disagree; however, inbound marketing missteps do happen. Kris Carr had a recent moment not in line with good inbound marketing and appeared to be a bit too self-promoting. Kris is not nearly as prolific a vlogger as the other women; in fact, she was off vlogging for over a year and only started up prior to the launch of her new book. Coming back just before her book launch appears a bit too self-promoting. Ideally, you want to have an ongoing consistent dialogue with your community. To her starved YouTube fan base, Kris had some ‘splaining to do. When Kris resurfaced, she explained that she had done a business overhaul. My interpretation of this was that her business and she were spread too thin and they needed to focus on producing a manageable amount of quality content for her audience.

It is fine if your schedule does not allow you to vlog/blog every week, what’s more important is to set a consistent schedule, stick to it, and let people know if you’re going to switch things up.

It is my hope that moving forward Kris and the Crazy Sexy Team will revive their inbound marketing strengths and not just release videos promoting her products.

Most of the time these women are great inbound marketers; they follow a split of roughly 80/20 valuable content to promotion—meaning 80 percent of the time they are giving away valuable content whether in weekly vlogs, blogs, podcasts, radio, ebooks, etc. The other 20 percent of the time they are promoting their products, which range from books, web events, live events, ebooks, audio trainings, etc. As a member of their communities, I don’t mind when they sell to me for two reasons: one, the things they are selling are relevant to me, and two, they aren’t selling most of the time—most of the time they are giving away free advice and helping me solve my pain points on my own.

While vlogging is not a tool appropriate for all businesses, it can be a powerful way to build your relationship with your community and grow your message.

What do you think of the Miracle Mafia’s video marketing? Too self-promotional or just right? Do you feel inspired to incorporate this into your marketing mix?

Like elephant work and money on Facebook.

Ed: Kate Bartolotta


About Jeanne Eisenhaure

A pragmatic idealist with a background in creative production and communications, Jeanne has seen firsthand how for-profit businesses can be vehicles for social and environmental improvement in addition to creating long-term sustainable financial growth. Jeanne works with her creative agency Jett DIGiTAL to produce creative content and strategic commutations strategies for businesses who want to change the world for the better. Why just build a business, when you can build a movement? Learn more about Jeanne and connect with her on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and her favorite platform YouTube. Discover her latest thoughts on creative production, marketing, and using business strategy for social good on her blog at Jett DIGiTAL. Follow Jett DIGiTAL on Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo for their latest projects.


34 Responses to “Marie Forleo, Tara Stiles, Gabrielle Bernstein & Kris Carr: How the Miracle Mafia is Taking Over the Mindful Marketplace from the Inside Out.”

  1. Vision_Quest2 says:

    "For those unfamiliar with the term inbound marketing or permission marketing, it focuses on gaining the ‘permission’ of your prospects by giving away valuable content, whereas traditional marketing or ‘interruption marketing’ focuses on forcing a message down your prospects’ throats (think commercials, bill boards, many pop-up and banner ads, etc.). Through their inbound marketing, the Miracle Mafia has cultivated a loyal band of followers or ambassadors, if you will."

    The inbound marketing gets information freeloaders, like me … keep it coming, ladies 😉

  2. Jeanne Eisenhaure says:

    Me too!

  3. Nicole Weinberger says:

    Excellent. I agree with the likability quotient.

  4. Vision_Quest2 says:

    Seriously? I am not in the market for books, classes, retreats, workshops or even a DVD. But if any of them streams a (downloadable) class to my cave, I'LL sometimes bite …

  5. Jeanne Eisenhaure says:

    That's kind of the point, they give so much their content away that you don't need to buy anything… but people still do. RE: downloadable content their whole angle is new media easily accessible to people in their homes, e.g. YouTube, USTREAM, podcasts, etc. If you ever do bite, I hope your cave has good wifi.

  6. Jeanne Eisenhaure says:

    Thanks Nicole!

  7. Vision_Quest2 says:

    It doesn't … and I like it that way … went video and the DOWNLOADS do fine.
    Myyogaonline never stopped doing video downloads.

    Any dilettante with DSL could appreciate cheap audio downloads from Doyogawithme, all levels all styles .. untouched by celebrity yogis …. YET!

    Minimalism rules!

  8. Jeanne Eisenhaure says:

    Only Tara is yoga, but I'm happy to learn about more free content online. Vision_Quest2 thank you for sharing.

  9. Alli says:

    Fantastic topic. I wanted to write about these gals, cause I love them so. Thanks for the Miracle Mafia breakdown.

  10. Tinvin says:

    What a great case study in online marketing.

  11. Well done! Thanks for the article, inspiration, and reminding me how many ways there are to share a message with open generosity and still make a good living.

  12. monicamjohnson says:

    Thank-you for breaking inbound marketing down and using such awesome ladies as your examples!

  13. Hi, Good thoughts. I agree with you. Thank a lot.

  14. Jeanne Eisenhaure says:

    Thanks Tinvin, so glad you liked it!

  15. Jeanne Eisenhaure says:

    So glad you found it helpful!

  16. cailen says:

    great post! i follow all of these ladies — but especially Marie Forleo — i love MarieTV 🙂 they are all awesome and so inspiring.

  17. susan enfield says:

    Thanks for the overview, Jeanne. I had been aware of some of these ladies, but tend not to have time for lots of YouTube watching. Guess I need to invest a bit more..

  18. Jeanne Eisenhaure says:

    Thanks Cailen, can't wait to see your future vlogs!

  19. Jeanne Eisenhaure says:

    Susan, most of the videos are pretty short (under 5 min). I'll have them on while i'm cooking or not watch but rather just listen to them if I'm doing emails or another task that doesn't require 100% focus. Keep me posted on what you think.

  20. Jeanne Eisenhaure says:

    Thanks Katrina, glad you liked it! Do what you love and he money follows right?

  21. […] real thing! Psyched to have this video on elephant—support it by sharing up—and psyched to see Tara back on the site for the second time this month. ~ […]

  22. […] Marie Forleo, Tara Stiles, Gabrielle Bernstein & Kris Carr: How the Miracle Mafia is Taking Over… […]

  23. […] so applying for positions where you don’t have a connection is like cold calling a prospect (marketer reference)—basically not a great use of your […]

  24. Tracy says:

    I think what they are doing is awesome and inspiring. I'm just wrapping up going through Marie's course Bschool and absolutely loved it. I can't wait to see where I am in 6-12 months from now with my business.

  25. Jeanne Eisenhaure says:

    Tracy you should write something for Elephant about your experience with Bschool!

  26. Jacinta says:

    I discovered Gabrielle Bernstein listening to HayHouse radio show, while recovering at home from a concussion. I learned of each of these women via their marketing connections, and I’m ok with it! Each one has something for me. Im not the original target audience, (but in my 40’s), I know the range has become wider. Im inspired by the free content, its refreshing, and it also keeps me moving forward, through a difficult life transition with a more positive outlook. One of the first times to travel outside my apartment by myself, after my accident, was to go see Gabby’s seminar live in downtown Toronto. I truly felt uplifted by all the women there, and even participated in the audience. Ive bought her books and some livestream too. I signed up to be a Spirit Junkie Ambassador because I was inspired to take action, connect with others, and I’ve learned more about marketing using social media. At a time when I needed a miracle, there was Gabby B, and I’m so grateful for the change I feel in my life. I first tuned in to her when I switched on the radio, while lying in bed in dire pain, anxiety, and need of encouragement, I heard her explain the meaning of this line from ACIM, “Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait, and wait without anxiety.” The timing couldn’t have been better!

  27. Anonymous Critic says:

    I bought Marie Forleo’s B-school program in 2012 and I felt scammed. Miracle Mafia is exactly what this is about.

    The course videos are NOT videos of Marie Forleo. Instead, they are simple power point slides that a 5th grader can put together. Each slide has 4 or 5 bullet points that explain nothing but repeat stuff we all know. No graphics, no designs, nothing fancy and pretty boring.

    Marie Forleo is a fake and doesn’t share exactly how she got where she is now or how you can make real money.

    Too many promises, zero results.

    Her slides repeat stuff from other marketing bloggers and books. How-tos that you can EASILY find with a simple google search, for FREE.

    In fact, Neil Patel’s Content Marketing Guide is exactly what you get in B-school. But his guide is FREE, more complete, up to date and entertaining.

    She calls profit clarity the question ‘how much do you want to make’ Duh, millions?? But doesn’t explain how to get there. Bah!

    The rest of the program is stuff you will find for free all over the internet.

    She also throws in some worksheets with stupid questions like ‘what is keeping your ideal client awake a night’

    Well Marie, if I were your ideal client, YOUR SCAM is keeping me awake because I’ve got nothing out of the $2000 that you run away with!

    Worst money spent ever.

    The program is old AND outdated. You can find more valuable information online for free.

    Not once Marie Forleo explains how she made her money online.

    How do you go from life coach to business coach with NO business coaching experience at all?

    I’ve heard Laura Roeder created the program for her and then Marie Forleo paid her off.

    They say there is customer support but it is just some virtual assistant with the same fluffy script each time you ask a question.

    There isn’t a phone number to call so you have to pray someone will see your email.

    In the conference calls she is rude, doesn't allow you elaborate on your questions and repeats the same answers over and over again, typically quoting one of her youtube videos.

    Marie Forleo is a total fake, B-school is a SCAM and today the 6 or 7 thousand people that enrolled are running like headless chickens in the facebook group called B-School Babes, making ZERO money from their websites and trying to sell their own copy-cat stuff to each other.

    Everyone copies each other in there.

    Like Gary Vaynerchuk, who is a real business man, says in an interview: “Blogging today has become incestuous. Unless you started a blog back in 2008, you are not going to make money if you start one today.”

    My advice: Don’t throw your money away.

    It’s useless. All 6 or 7 thousand of us who enrolled didn’t make any money from it. Everyone lies in the testimonials because they don’t want to be seen as a failure and pray you will click on their urls.

    There. I said it. Well done Char for putting this out there. You did not miss out on anything.


  28. SSM says:

    Anonymous Critic, I am with you on this one. Most recently, I went to church with my sister. They gave me the same advice these girls fork over for either a couple of thousands bucks for a course or 12 dollars on a Nook book. I regret buying Gabby's book. I've been conned.

    Behind all of this is great marketing! These ladies are marketing mavens. And they are capitalizing on the fact that many young people are a bit young, dazed, and confused. I guess that if as a young, female professional this is helping you, then great! But, please don't think that this is the panacea. What these women do is create this image of what they are like – which includes successful, super happy all the time, healthy, etc. – and make you want that image. But guess what? These things are attainable by your own means. No B-School needed, just hard work. No 40 crash course into miracles, just live your life.

    You can do this on your own.

  29. apprendix says:

    Miracle Mafia – what a great name!

  30. Not once Marie Forleo explains how she made her money online.

  31. Just saying says:

    Thank you for your honest opinion. I found similar problems with Marie Forleo's short course (4 lessons in total) "The Copy Cure". There are a lot of nice videos, with reams of materials but no feedback on assignments. The information is not all that helpful and probably can be found free anywhere else on the internet. One thing for sure, Marie Forleo is one hell of a marketer but frankly I, too, feel like I've been scammed. The Copy Cure is $399 but frankly, don't waste your time or money. You're far better off attending a REAL copywriting course where you can get guidance from qualified instructors. Don't waste your money on any of Marie Forleo's products.

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