This One Ingredient is What you Need for Success in the Digital World
The heartwarming yet rare marketing campaigns that we still remember after years, is primary driven by the AGAPE component
The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.
- Paulo Coelho
Here's something we've almost always known but never really come to terms with; rarely has anyone wanted to believe in something so intangible and discarnate.
Love, the biggest indicator of fulfilment and happiness, is what the world of Digital Marketing is missing.
No, I didn't predict that! A 75-year-old Harvard Grant and Glueck study is where this finding originates from.
Yes, in a manner that only the ever-so-reverential Harvard could, after digitally analysing blood samples, brain scans and other markers, he found that the sum total of human happiness is contained quite simply, in that thing called love.
Such humbling lessons can also be learned from the eye-opening insights of Disney World, which tells us exactly how to wow customers and retain them!
So, marketers, if your end-game (cheesy as it sounds), isn't motivated by love, your fancy hammer is not getting through to many nails - as you may have already discovered all on your own.
Let's face it. A good marketer needs no convincing of the urgency to present flawless unified copies across landing pages - using brilliant design, failure-agnostic analytics, and mind-blowing UX to all seamlessly track a customer's human motivators.
Yes, You Get the drift. Brevity Saves!
But then, the reality is different from what we'd like to hope for. Things in the marketing world don't quite pan out the way we hope they will.
What am I doing wrong?
Maybe it's time to rewind the analytics and look at the heart of the problem. People apparently only click on what they emote with, relate with or are intrigued with, if the study from Grant and Glueck is anything to go by.
If one of the world's leading research facilities has arrived at this conclusion, it is time to do more than just listen.
All people really want is to lead a reasonably satisfied, fulfilling life.
Sharing her thoughts on this, author Melanie Curtin, a passionate advocate for authentic expression, sustainability and millennials, observes,
"Not how much is in your 401(k). Not how many conferences you spoke at--or keynote. Not how many blog posts you wrote or how many followers you had or how many tech companies you worked for or how much power you wielded there."
Yes, the Grant and Glueck men seemed to have cracked the code. They say that the secret to happiness, health and success (which is what matters most in any business) is simply good relationships.
And the biggest "product' thereof is Love.
Interestingly, the study was able to prove that love was the biggest setter-up for fulfilment and if everyone on the internet responds best to the path that leads -->…a wise marketer will follow.
But then, how is love relevant to a marketing campaign?
Well, the research indicates that love isn't a feeling juxtaposed between erotic love (EROS) which generally fizzles out, and love for one's family (STORGE), which may or may not fizzle out.
A couple returning from their honeymoon is looking to get artwork that is reminiscent of their honeymoon for their new living room. They are unlikely to need a lot of content-driven marketing driven towards them. They are already aware and well on their way to filling a targeted area of need, much like how EROS works.
No points for guessing how long before the piece becomes a relic on a wall that will become an important piece of real estate as they journey through the stages of life.
However, a family of 4 whose air conditioning unit has broken down during summer has needs that operate under a different set of values when they draw up their decision board. They are looking for a unit they can rely on, that will require care and maintenance in return, for life; a STOREGEY kind of love.
This brings us to another kind of love, PHILEO- the love one has for one's brothers and peers. It is an act of intent; a decision; a commitment. It is much more than a means to an end. As in, when your campaign is targeted at raising funds for World Vision in Africa.
True love? Not yet, but getting there.
This brings us to AGAPE, which is emblematic of the highest form of love that only knows how to give without expecting anything in return. This definition does much justice to what it's all about.
"Unconditional love that is always giving and impossible to take or be a taker. It devotes total commitment to seek your highest best no matter how anyone may respond. This form of love is totally selfless and does not change whether the love given is returned or not."
The heartwarming yet rare marketing campaigns that we still remember after years, is primary driven by the AGAPE component because the pressure to perform is not influenced by numbers – but by the well being of the customer.
It also talks about the importance of ethics in business interactions. On that note, do you know that 92% of millennial consumers are more likely to buy from ethical companies?
Anyways, back to our example. Blake Mycoskie founded TOMS (a famous shoe brand in America) in 2006, after his visit to Argentina where he saw firsthand how people residing in impoverished areas had to make do without shoes - a challenge most of us would have put barely any thought into.
Apart from sharing (they don't like using the word "donate') 60 million shoes worldwide, they also dispatched over 400,000 pairs of glasses to poverty-stricken, visually impaired people. Not only this, TOMS has also helped 25,000 women deliver babies safely.
Now here's the thing. On its homepage, TOMS clearly says that it will help someone else, for every single product that is being bought from their store.
TOMS' mission occupies such a central part of its branding that it's impossible to navigate through their website without understanding how they help people around the world – a message that shines across all its channels – regardless of the naysayers and critics.
The end result: The very thought of TOMS conjures images of its meaningful outreach projects and corporate giving initiatives; you cannot not think of TOMS and agape in the same breath.
Pat yourself on the pack. You've entered the elite zone of agape. You've earned their trust because you know they know that you're concerned about their well-being. Naturally, they'll be glad to repay in kind without even trying to.
But Who are You Looking to Influence?
A vast majority of the digital audience is made up of millennials? If you are fortunate enough to have been born in the same era, you are in relatively safe territory to begin your campaign. If not, here is another comforting study by Goldman Sachs that began tracking the members of the species born circa 1984.
I'm thinking about the 12-year old I saw skateboarding whilst snapchatting to her friend …I don't think anyone is going to be telling her what she needs to be looking at online!
Baby Boomers, (born 1946-65) are another serious force whose attention is to be vied for. This group apparently appreciates technology even more than Gen X or the millennials, according to Mark Larson, Head of Consumer and Retail, KPMG.
You see, it's time the industry was forced to double-back. Let us stop shoving content that works for one party, down people's throats… It's about allowing the right priorities to determine your strategies, in the marketing world. It's about creating meaningful, ongoing partnerships. Because meaningful and caring partnerships tend to last longest.
Get yourself to answer these questions about the consistency and efficacy of your marketing strategy:
- Who are your visitors/target audience?
- Do you really care about them and their needs?
- What emotions do you evoke in them?
- What emotions would you like to evoke?
- Is it driven by profit alone or something beyond the tangibles?
- Check your "about us" section of the website (even the entire website) and social media channels. Does it manage to evoke these emotions?
- Do you and your team intersperse the same affection and kindness when talking to your customers through live chat, phone, email…whatever?
- Can you describe the essence of your brand in two sentences?
As you begin to answer these questions, you're more than likely to follow the path that resonates with YOUR truth; a truth that encourages the truth-seeker to connect with you as opposed to you calling all the shots.
Follow your dreams (and your conviction in them) for the sheer love of your entrepreneurial idea or better still, your customers. It'll rarely let you down.
But, make sure you follow it till the end. Because when you do, you'll discover this timeless truth uncovered by Ralph Waldo Emerson many years ago:
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.