By its very nature, successful marketing surprises, differentiates, shows empathy, provokes and challenges. It compels and excites, tells stories, promises newness and affirmation, provides heroes (and villains) and loyalty.
It doesn’t matter whether you are in the B2B or B2C space, your audiences still want these things. They want to be taken out of themselves and exposed to new ideas and different ways of viewing their humdrum worlds, issues and needs. They want profound answers, they want easier lives and they want to be heroes… and they will only give moments of their busy lives to things that really affect them and deliver value. It has always been like this and the best marketers have always known it.
In reality, the things that seem to be the primary concerns of B2B marketers – supporting sales, driving leads, ROI and growing awareness– all come off the back of delivering the things described above. They always have and they always will.
Emotional marketing is not a discipline
It is staggering to me that the concept of ‘emotional’ branding and marketing (the human touch) has now become such a hot topic. It’s now being written and talked about as a new, revolutionary marketing discipline – like content marketing and marketing automation were, rather than as what it is and always has been – the central, defining component of all successful marketing. It is disingenuous of the publications, agencies and marketing services providers that have spent the last years trying to sell marketers process and commoditised marketing ‘solutions’, to suddenly turn round and pontificate about emotional marketing.
Emotional marketing should not be considered in this way. It is not a learnt discipline or defined process, it is an attitude of mind that all marketers should have. It should be innate, instinctive, ingrained in the DNA of all good marketers. Anyone who tries to learn ‘emotional marketing’ will fail. You either have the innate, instinctive ability to emotionally inspire and resonate with your teams, business and buyer communities or you don’t. If you don’t, find people who do and let them provide this for you because you will never acquire this skill yourself.
Rebuilding marketing’s credibility
Marketing needs to rebuild (or in many businesses, build for the first time) its credibility and vitality within the organisations that it represents. Certainly, marketing needs to demonstrate returns, but the way to do this is to focus on leading and inspiring buyers and internal audiences (a different sort of brand buyer) creating relevant and inspiring marketing, that drives buyers to brands, for a very changed influence and belief structure in buyer psyches.
To do this, marketing as a profession needs to regain a leadership position in business, through inspiring CMOs and (dare I say it) maverick behaviour – creating real, integrated strategies, broadening the marketing organisation, engaging with sales as mutually benefiting partners (rather than as the internal client) and, most importantly, reversing the trend – putting inspiring marketing strategy and leadership first – products, services and technology-enabled delivery second.
The ability to do this depends on the marketers themselves. It’s less about ‘emotional marketing’ and more about ‘emotional marketers’… marketers with soul, conviction, passion and energy. It’s what marketing was built on and from, and so it should be now.