Feel-good marketing

Feelgood marketing
Is that possible? Marketing that makes you feel good?

Many people feel a bit uncomfortable around the idea of marketing. Some go further and positively hate it.

A new client of ours – the head of a very successful consultancy – has shied away from marketing for years because it just feels intrinsically wrong. To him, marketing is putting on an act, pretending to be something you’re not. Like many people, he thinks there’s a dishonesty at the heart of marketing that doesn’t sit easily with the way he feels about himself or his business.

He’s not alone. Pretending to be something you’re not is never a comfortable feeling.

Likewise our collective short fuse when it comes to being marketed at by pushy marketers – cold callers, spammy emails, incessant amazing never-to-be-repeated deals (until tomorrow, that is, when you get them again) – means we don’t want to be that pushy person. It just doesn’t make us feel good about ourselves.

We say look at marketing differently. When you approach marketing from the standpoint of ‘how can we help our customers better?’ rather than ‘how can we sell more stuff?’ it becomes easier to do. And, it works more effectively. It’s easy to switch off from a marketing message, it’s not so easy to switch off from something that genuinely answers a question that’s been really bugging you. (Right now, it would be impossible for me not to click on something that showed me how to get my 16 year old son to revise.)

You’ll stop seeing it as pushing, lying, or manipulation if you don’t push, lie or manipulate. Create marketing content that is genuinely helpful and you take the pressure off yourself.

Of course feel-good marketing is only possible if what you’re selling makes a difference to the world. That doesn’t mean you have to be Greenpeace, it just means you have a genuine desire to improve your customers’ lives.

Do good to feel good. This is the essence of the valuable approach to marketing.

Other content to make you feel good

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  1. Bill Maslen

    I have to say, I think this article reflects a common confusion between selling and marketing. Hard selling is always irritating, and there are always those who feel uncomfortable about ‘selling’ themselves in an overtly extrovert or aggressive way – I do myself. Which is why marketing is so much more enjoyable. Good marketing is about explaining the benefits of your product or service clearly and succinctly, in a manner (i.e. via a channel, using a style and/or medium) that appeals to the target audience you want to attract. Marketing is something you should be doing all the time; it should be intrinsic in everything you say, in every piece of advice you offer customers, in every communication and in every supportive interaction. That’s because if you really ‘believe’ in your business, you’ll automatically market it by living it.

    That’s not to say you can’t improve your marketing – at Valuable Content, you’ve provided some outstanding examples of how to do just that. But don’t confuse the enjoyable ingenuity of helping people find their way to your products with the altogether less enjoyable intensity of the hard-selling ‘must close the deal’ attitude displayed by commission-obsessed salespeople.

  2. Sonja Jefferson

    Hi Bill – thanks very much for your comment, and for the feedback too.

    You’re so right – marketing (and selling) is much easier if you believe in what you do. Like good marketing I think good selling is all about helping, not about the hard sell. These two terms do have funny connotations don’t they?

    This presentation on Taking the Sell out of Selling from our friend Andrea Howe sums it up well for me – http://www.thegetrealproject.com/resources/take-the-sell-out-of-selling-4-key-behaviours-that-drive-business-development/.

  3. Bryony Thomas

    Great post Sharon. There are so many reasons why simply dropping the act, being yourself, and treating people decently makes for highly effective marketing. Indeed, I might go so far as to say it’s the only genuinely sustainable long-term strategy. Painting on a veneer and making false promises that get initial sales is phenomenally short sighted. It might get cash now, but in the long term it will undermine your ability to win and keep business.

    Here’s why:
    – pretending is hard work, being yourself and telling the truth is much easier to maintain
    – you attract people you’re most likely to enjoy working with, and vice versa.
    – there’s less likelihood of not living up to expectations set.
    – even people who don’t work with you are likely to have been impressed with your integrity, thereby generating goodwill.
    – customers will probably buy more, and stay longer if they genuinely like you.
    – if you make people uncomfortable by being pushy, or don’t live up to false promises you are generating negative word of mouth.

    The choice people make on this is often about time horizons. If you look to your feet and only think about getting money in now, pushy can make sense. If you look up and into the longer term, being truthful and decent will almost always underpin sustainable success.

    Here’s a case study that looks at this a little more: http://watertightmarketing.com/2012/09/13/hard-sell-only-works-once/

  4. Sharon Tanton

    Thanks Bryony, you’ve explained that really well. Life is so much easier if you’re not putting on an act – and that works for businesses as well as people!
    Great case study too. Thank you.


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