Friday, August 31, 2012

Whole Brain Marketing

I had the misfortune recently of confusing the "left brain" vs. "right brain" definitions during a recent presentation for the Southern California chapter of the Business Marketing Association (my presentation will be made public on SlideShare in October). The underlying assertion I was making was still apt: that I believe successful marketing has to involve both the logical and emotional sides of the brain.

Too often we bring to our work one or the other. We talk the language of the creative -- tag lines, visuals, sounds, colors, metaphors, emotions -- but then forget to appeal to the logical side, resulting in a pie-in-the-sky thinking that can't measure whether we were successful and can't tie what we're doing back to the objectives. Or we talk the language of the logical -- cost/benefit statements, ROI, click-throughs, heat maps, lead conversion -- while ignoring the emotional appeals that actually motivate human behavior.

In B2B marketing in particular, there seems to be a historical emphasis on the logical appeal. We may be marketing to companies, but the decision-makers are people. So as Claire Weekes describes in the B2BMarketing, our messages and demand systems need to appeal to both. Not just "will is save my company money", but also "will I look like an idiot in front of my boss". I think one thing we're learning from social media marketing is how to bring back the emotional appeal to B2B marketing.

P.S.: thanks for indulging me yesterday with my gratitude list. Upon reflection, I think I'll continue to share personal stories and experiences, but the specific list I'll keep private.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Power of Positivity and Passion

On the advice of one of IBM's interesting wellness programs for employees, I've recommitted myself to several things:
  • more exercise
  • more positive thinking
  • focus more on doing the right things better, not everything.
The positive thinking part comes from new research on how positive emotions can be "taught" in the sense of training the brain. "Positivity" is an interesting read, and shows simple things like meditation and a daily gratitude list can make significant impacts on our quality of life. So, after meditating on the bus for 15 minutes this morning, here's today's top 5 gratitude list:

  1. I get to listen to really great music from Coldplay on this magical device called an iPhone
  2.  My legs feel better from my killer Monday workout
  3. I got a solid 6-1/2 hours of sleep last night, first uninterrupted section in a while
  4. I get to kiss my adorable husband's bald head as he sleeps and I leave for work
  5. The weather outside is turning into that glorious New York early fall: dry, warm, delicious.
So, if I've got the more exercise down (well, maybe not yet, but definitely headed in the right direction), and the positivity is trending up, what about #3? And can that apply to your work, whether as B2B marketer or any role?

I'm in the middle of a rather significant product launch preparation. Everyone is running ragged, and the temptation for loss of balance and lack of perspective is intense. I looked at the project plan the other day. Even after 14+ years of launching new products, I still marvel at the delicate interlock of quality, deadlines and budgets that go into a successful launch. I think that makes focus even more important. It's easy to be sucked into "management by magpie", getting whipflash from too quickly shifting focus on all the shiny objects in front of you. It takes real forethought and discipline in high-stress situations to say "no" or "later". As marketers, I think it's important to not just focus on the creative, but to do so in a rigorous, focused manner. Successful creativity requires it, otherwise it's just a hobby.

So, that's why I make that gratitude list. It keeps me grounded in the values that drive the decisions I need to make every day.

That's why I exercise. It gives me energy and shuts my hyper-active brain off for a refresh.

And that's why I try to say "no" as well as "yes". It's not easy, granted. Especially since I like to say that in a previous life I must have been a Golden Lab: I'm affable and slightly portly, I love to be scratched and easily get sidetracked.