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What is 5D Marketing and Why Does it Matter Now?

What is 5D Marketing and Why Does it Matter Now?

What is “5D Marketing?” Why does it matter? How does it contrast with “3D marketing,” and why is 5D marketing the unavoidable wave of the future? If you have considered these questions, or have any kind of general curiosity about “5D thinking,” this article is for you.

3D Marketing

What I call “3D Marketing” or “three-dimensional marketing” is what most early 21st-Century leaders simply view as “marketing.” It’s the way things have always been done, at least for the last few hundred years, solidly grounded in experience, theory, and metrics, historically evolutionary in its nature and ethos from long before the common era, and, thanks to the Internet, relatively simple to deploy in the digital age.

3D marketing is how we move consumers through the know/like/trust continuum. It is the decision tree most of us climb to get stuff.

3D marketing typically includes components like these (not an exhaustive list and yes, I’m choosing the more difficult ones for a reason):

  • Motivation magnets such as scarcity, bonuses, guarantees, and giveaways;
  • Automated tools such as funnels, lead magnets, content saturation, and digital advertising;
  • Superlatives, such as those often found in promises, social credibility, “best of” articles, as well as paid reviews and testimonials;
  • Unethical practices, such as like/unlike or follow/unfollow, plus spam, phish, and robocalls, as well as outright identity theft or worse, ransomware, and the destruction or intentional modification of digital property in pursuit of new business.

Digital marketing tools can shorten the time it takes to move gullible or curious buyers into the sales cycle. As plenty of recorded history shows us, these methods work – even the unethical ones! – and can work very well. Often, when a target market niche is very specific, they are excellent ways to bring in the business, unwinds, and charge-backs be damned.

Unfortunately, these tired but true ways are also starting to harm things. Bigger, better, and faster is a sustainability disaster, according to the many small businesses that have been put out of business by the tech-heavy distribution channels that fascinate investors, regardless of the rights violated to make them profitable. (True colors showing.) Since these ways tend to generate profit, those of us in individualistic free-ish market economies hold our noses, look the other way, and ignore the metrics that reveal harm was done: income inequality, slave and child labor, adverse environmental impact.

Still, 3D thinking says, all of that is tried-and-true great. It’s a cost of doing business. And, all of it obviously works to one extent or another. So what’s the problem? If 3D marketing works so well, why is there even a conversation about “5D thinking” or “5D marketing?”

The Obligatory Pivot

“Pivot” is an SEO word, so I include it here on purpose. But I really mean it. Here’s why:

Albert Einstein made the observation that the problems of today cannot be solved using the same thinking that created them. So, as a thought experiment, may we accept the premise that today’s three-dimensional Internet reflects today’s best 3D thinking? Based on that premise, can we now quickly determine both how well today’s three-dimensional digital marketing actually works as well as its true cost, and make some predictions about how well it is likely to work and what its true cost may be in the future?

Stop for a moment and consider: everything we now know has resulted from everything we collectively have come to know since the dawn of civilization, more or less. We are where we are because of all that has gone before. What future do you envision? If it’s full of worry, stress, disaster, and foreboding, you’re in 3D thinking. But what if, right now, you were offered a different future?

That future could begin right now, even as you read this. Everything you have learned and everything you have thought has brought you to this exact moment. If you approach the potential future with awareness, you already know these two things:

  1.  Your thinking has been solidly grounded in 3D thinking, and you can project where that pathway will lead;
  2. You are curious and open-minded about 5D thinking – for marketing and any other purpose.

So, What is 5D?

This is a question most easily answered by pointing to what 5D is not, but that itself is not a true 5D response, because non-binary-ness is just a concept that indicates the shift from 3D to 5D thinking. As I write this, I’m also acutely aware that our language is limited by 3D, which makes choices of terms even more problematic. For more clarity and forward focus, let’s look at what 5D thinking means in terms of structure. The nearby image is from Spiritual Workout, which is an online community facilitated by Steven Morrison. It does a good job of laying out how 5D thinking walks its talk in the 3D world in only 15 short “concepts.”


Others have summarized these 15 concepts into three words: “do no harm,” which, by its association with the Hippocratic Oath, also reminds us that the practice of doing no harm – like these fifteen concepts – is based, not on a few hundred years of recent innovation, but on thousands of years of practices that work.

In our era, interest in 5D thinking is actually a curiosity about what innovations we might make to overcome the limits of 3D. There’s a capitalist reason for this: sustained growth. But to discover how 5D thinking and sustainable growth work together, we need to revisit history. Don’t fret: the lesson will be quick.

Thin Places Between 3D and 5D

Upheaval is a change marker. There’s plenty of it right now. Once your perception widens to see that contrast is a way forward, issues such as the legalization of gay marriage, marijuana, and psilocybin take on a new meaning: individuals band together and, as tribes, they affect change. In this way, upheaval between changing currents of thought becomes a thin place where true innovation can break through. (“Thin place” is a term from Celtic Christianity that was used to indicate physical places where God seemed more present – a place where the divine broke through to enlighten the human.)

Recall our thought experiment? Are we rolling into a thin place right now?

Upheaval strains the limits of 3D thinking. Basically, there is a direct correlation between scaling up in 3D and total harm done. But harmfully scaled-up 3D also fertilizes the field for 5D innovation, so that when changed thinking breaks through a thin place, growth happens. You can either trust me on this, or look at organizations such as B-Lab-Global, Investing In Communities®, Charity Defense Council, or Give and Take: all leading, living, breathing examples of how 3D thinking is transitioning to 5D thinking.

Throughout recorded history, the upheaval that precedes a massive change of thinking tends to be ugly. While some people change quickly, well-established, institutionalized, systemic 3D assumptions tend to resist change the longest. Early adopters pave the way, followed by the normal progression of consumer acceptance. Where could that lead in the post-3D marketing world?

5D Marketing

Will the coming age of 5D products, services, and content satisfy 3D consumers? Those curious about 5D have begun to realign away from 3D and toward 5D; innovative 5D offerings will leave those rooted in 3D behind. While some see this as necessary competition, in 5D, curiosity and collaboration – do no harm – replace unnecessary cutthroat competition.

If we turn away from the worst of the 3D marketing practices, what would we find? From our earlier incomplete example, here are some helpful, non-exhaustive pivots:

  • Motivation magnets become conscious, intentional, actionable expressions of attributes such as compassion and gratitude;
  • Automated tools feed awakened 5D attitudes about choice, inspiration, responsibility, and an informed social and environmental awareness;
  • “Best-of” superlatives give way to informed interconnectedness;
  • Ethical practices grounded in integrity, respect, and fairness attract dedicated, life-long support for products and services that mirror and embody 5D thinking.

As the 5D flywheel continues to spin, who knows where Spiritual Workout concepts and “do no harm” could take us!

The real opportunity for 5D marketers is to be the bridge between old and new thinking.

5D marketers who recognize the need for that bridge will lead the way, and the products and services they offer will be the consumer-level vanguard of 5D thinking.

The Bottom Line

Will you align your future with 5D or 3D? Will you stay open and innovate alongside the 5D marketing methods being invented now, or hitch your future to the 3D train just as it reaches the end of the line and runs off the tracks?

Those well-versed in 3D marketing are feeling the crunch. For example, we all know the importance of writing a best-selling book, and how to use that as marketing leverage. While best-selling books are already a huge movement in 3D marketing, they’re not innovative. Paid best-sellers are just one more example of the bigger better faster disaster, and, like TEDx talks, now that everybody has a best-selling book, it’s just not enough to differentiate one expert from the next.

The ease of publishing and marketing a book was famously documented in 2016 when Brent Underwood published his best-selling e-book: “Putting My Foot Down: A Book Featuring My Foot.” This humorous anecdote helps us laugh at 3D, even as we notice that e-book publishing services and best-selling authors abound in 3D; now that almost everyone has written their best-selling book, is there anyone left to read yet another one?

The 5D writer/coach/leader/entrepreneur, in contrast, takes time – sometimes a lifetime – to allow for true innovation to percolate. Instead of merely targeting a market niche that needs filling and making it easier for customers to access that niche (sounds delightfully banal, doesn’t it?), the 5D writer/coach/leader/entrepreneur turns inward, mines for the gold locked away inside their heart, melds it with experience and research and offers words of wisdom or truly innovative products and services that lead to and support new awareness. Unlike the repeaters who restate their flavor of the world’s 3D wisdom, the ring of authenticity in 5D thinking can only be recognized by those who’ve become curious and actually walked the pilgrimage outside the limits of 3D. And that, dear reader, is an awesome opportunity, both for all the reasons that 3D has begun to reach its expiration date as well as for the hope and truly novel insight offered by 5D thinking.

Please don’t get this wrong: the best reasons 3D marketing works will still exist in the transition to 5D marketing. That’s a difficult challenge, but work on it has already begun. Where is your tent pegged? The way forward isn’t a flash-cut; marketing nomads only need apply, and wise ones at that, since the journey between the two forms of thinking may be more torturous than the destination. The question is: “How will I take that journey?” “Why” has nothing to do with it. In Darwinian terms, the “why” is simple: evolve from 3D to 5D…or die.

Will you take the mistaken, tragic passage on a Titanic voyage that is the last of 3D? There’s lots of play left in that space, to be sure, but playing there, however profitable, means that your innovations will be lost with the ship, no matter how seamlessly and quickly your latest invention or theory re-arranges its deck chairs. Short-term individualist thinking has no parlay with 5D thinkers who consider their impact on society as a whole 10,000 years in the future.

Will you join the true innovators and entrepreneurs? The ones who aren’t doing bigger better faster just to make the crypto register ring? The ones whose curiosity is so profound that they will lead thought, consciousness, and consequently “the market” into new realms…to boldly go?

This thin place between 3D marketing and 5D marketing is just one of the innovative opportunities embedded in 5D thinking. In 3D, the question is: will you lead, follow, or get out of the way? The 5D response, which anticipates the joy in the journey rather than the grind to the goal, is: “Yes!”

And that’s not all

There is active research into the potential for an 8-dimensional mathematical understanding of our universe. One such animated illustration of that is nearby – click the image to start the animation. And, enjoy your future!