Feeling the Marketing Way: How Marketers Can Make New Emotional Connections

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1.’CONSUMER INSIGHTS’ AT THE TAP OF A KEY. Marketing relies on understanding its consumers, and on increasingly sophisticated and complex research programs designed to garner ‘key consumer insights’,which areessential to developing effective marketing strategies and communications initiatives. Now, via the net and its facilitation of the sharing of anyone’s thoughts, views, opinions and innermost feelings with anyone else, there are more opportunities than ever before to access what people think and feel.

Of course, as much posturing goes on online as it does in any research study, but the difference between what people say they feel and what they really feel may be less the case given the anonymity of the public audience (versus how you feel about what you say in front of seven strangers in a focus group). As with any research, its effectiveness derives from how skillfully it is interpreted. But the ability to ask questions about how specific demographics feelin We Feel Fine demonstrates how much more material we can now access to work with, particularly in the intangible world of human emotion.

2.DIFFERENT DYNAMICS CAUSE DIFFERENT BEHAVIORAL PATTERNS. Have you noticed how very helpful people can be to each other online?In fact, I think it would be safe to say that people are often much nicer and more helpful to complete strangers online than they probably are to a lot of the people around them in the offline world. Sure, the opposite holds true as well — anonymity and a perceived lack of consequences enables people to be pretty unpleasant online too.

Overall, what we seefrom the nature of the cyber universe means people are prepared to reach out online and connect with complete strangers (huge amounts of them),and that they are prepared to open up to, offer help, answer questions, offer referrals and general comfort and words of kindness to others who have no emotional claim on them. (The ‘Madness’ section of We Feel Fine graphically demonstrates this bird’s eve view of human interaction online.)

How the Internet gives rise to behaviors that are not simply a more unfettered extension of how people would normally behave in the real world is a much bigger topic than I can address here. But marketers exploring, for example, the explosive growth of online social networks and how they can benefit, have the opportunity to examine this difference between offline and online behavior, and how they can understand and make that difference work to their advantage.

3.NEW INSIGHTS AND DYNAMICS MEAN SO MUCH MORE CREATIVE POTENTIAL FOR INTERACTIVE MARKETING AND ADVERTISING. Jonathan Harris describes his work as ‘the exploration of humans through the artifacts they leave behind on the Web’. Its innovationcomes from the use of existing software and systems–interacting with content produced by the world at large–to interpret and represent that content in a truly original and thought-provoking way.The creativity of this approach underlines the fact that the best of commercial interactive communication works in much the same way — product and brand truths represented in a compellingly distinctive, innovative fashion – and that there isn’t nearly enough of it out there.

Check out another project of Jonathan’s, www.oralfix.com/ — the website for Oral Fixation Mints, of which he is a co-founder. Click on ‘Welcome To Our World’ to visit the Chocolate Factory where the mints are made, and see how much time you spend there. That level of stickiness and emotional engagement is an art form in itself — and any marketer’s dream.

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