Marketing a business today is a constant game of Twister except on a much bigger mat, with more colours options, and dozens of other people playing at the same time. “Put your focus into SEO,” “Customer journeys are critical in empathizing with our base!”, “Blogs. Must. Write. Blogs” “No no, now Facebook ads are the way of the future! Get out of traditional media” “But WAIT- privacy issues are scaring customers! Maybe we should rethink this!”
And here we are- our spines turned into some unnamed yoga position, right arm curved underneath our backside, around our ankle and shaking with muscle fatigue, while our left foot must somehow make it around the downward facing dog position currently held by our neighbour and onto a yellow circle, or else we come toppling down.
“Marketing” has somehow been lost in the myriad of checklist items and must-dos to be seen by our audience. What we need to realize is that marketing at its core has nothing to do with being recognized. As customers, we see somewhere between 4,000 and 10,000 ads per day. Recognition by no means equals successful customer connection or attention grab. Most of the time we don’t even recognize these ads because we’ve become so inundated that we’ve found ways of shutting them out of our conscious minds.
So, unless you’re an unconscious-plant-the-seed-and-let-it-grow-Inception-style guru, you need to get back to the basics and focus on building relationships with your base- not simply throwing out content and expecting them to care. As an example, think about customer service. Excellent customers service isn’t driving customer acquisition anymore. Why? Because who doesn’t offer it? It’s no longer a competitive advantage to treat your customers with respect and show them you value their business. It’s the new status quo. Without it, you lose. With it, you only keep your spot in the field.
Where does that leave us then? What is the new competitive advantage?
Well, it’s pretty simple: emotional connection. This might sound easy but it’s far from it and this is where the authentic and shining star companies make it out of the dark Twister tunnel and into a more sophisticated marketing platform. How can you do this? Lucky for you, we have a few tips on getting started.
1. You must understand the need for emotional connection (no kidding?)
All too often this idea of “building emotional connectivity” becomes another checklist item for companies because it sounds like the new “it” thing. However, there are decision-makers across all industries that think the emotional connection is a bunch of codswallop and people just want to be aware of their options and make the best choice. While this is incredibly false (and frankly senseless), if you aren’t a believer you might as well turn back now. The first step to building trust is credibility and if you don’t believe in the power of emotional connection, your customers will surely see through it. An authentic desire to build this relationship is a prerequisite to success. If you recognize the need and have your thinking cap on- full steam ahead, my friend!
2. Embed this philosophy into your organization
It can be easy to form a surface-level connection. We’ve all been there- we met a stranger and had a short discussion about a random topic, perhaps in line for coffee or at the supermarket. Emotional connection, however, is much more challenging and to realize this ambition it must be part of the company culture. Truly connecting with your customer base requires deep insight, customer empathy, and listening to their needs. Without this being an inherent value embedded within your organization, you may find it difficult to build this strong foundation with your customers.
3. To connect is to listen
When was the last time you interviewed current or potential clients? Have you ever interviewed lost clients to understand why you couldn’t support their needs? We’re not talking about a customer survey that takes 3 minutes. Dig deeper and challenge your organization to more fully understand the behaviours, desires, and thoughts of your clients. This can be as simple as a phone call or as elaborate as a detailed focus group. Either way, interviews are useful insights into learning about your current and future state from the horse’s mouth. After all, you’re trying to meet a need- why not just ask?
4. Everything is an experience
These days buying ice cream cones with the frills of an “experience” and a sense of fun and customization. How can you incorporate this into your marketing plan? With constant connectivity, how are you activating and elongating the experience you provide your customers? Are you engaging with them in a personal way? Are you treating each customer as pivotal to the success of the business? Can you find new ways of connecting genuinely with human-focused qualities that remove digital barriers?
5. Connect with customer motivations
A Harvard Business Review article from November 2015 sums up 10 important emotional motivators that affect customers. While this list is not exhaustive, it gives you an idea of how to begin segmenting your customers based on motivations versus demographics. How could you see your marketing ROI improve if you implemented this more emotionally driven and human-centred approach into your campaigns?
This is directly from their website:
|I am inspired by a desire to:||Brands can leverage this motivator by helping customers:|
|Stand out from the crowd||Project a unique social identity; be seen as special|
|Have confidence in the future||Perceive the future as better than the past; have a positive mental picture of what’s to come|
|Enjoy a sense of well-being||Feel that life measures up to expectations and that balance has been achieved; seek a stress-free state without conflicts or threats|
|Feel a sense of freedom||Act independently, without obligations or restrictions|
|Feel a sense of thrill||Experience visceral, overwhelming pleasure and excitement; participate in exciting, fun events|
|Feel a sense of belonging||Have an affiliation with people they relate to or aspire to be like; feel part of a group|
|Protect the environment||Sustain the belief that the environment is sacred; take action to improve their surroundings|
|Be the person I want to be||Fulfil a desire for ongoing self-improvement; live up to their ideal self-image|
|Feel secure||Believe that what they have today will be there tomorrow; pursue goals and dreams without worry|
|Succeed in life||Feel that they lead meaningful lives; find worth that goes beyond financial or socioeconomic measures|
|SOURCE SCOTT MAGIDS, ALAN ZORFAS, AND DANIEL LEEMON
FROM “THE NEW SCIENCE OF CUSTOMER EMOTIONS,” NOVEMBER 2015
These 5 steps should set you on a path towards building much stronger emotional connections with your clientele, but you can’t stop here. You must continue to demonstrate a genuine desire to build, bond, and bind with your customers in new, fresh ways.
Still don’t believe me? Here are 4 companies that used SuperBowl ads to create an emotional connection. The proof is the Youtube-views pudding.