Marketing to Feel Alive
Why love matters in business.
No matter how much time I spend in the business world, or what kinds of people and organizations I interact with… I grow more and more convinced of something I knew when I was a little kid:
Very few things are as worthwhile or effective as the pure love of experiencing something truly great.
Think of the first time you touched the sleek metal of a MacBook, saw the soft brushstrokes of Manet in a museum, or heard the soulful cry of a rock song.
Really picture it. Remember how your body felt in that moment, recall the tingling of your toes, the soft ringing of your heart. Do you feel it? A part of your soul just came to life for the very first time.
Why Do We Feel Love?
I’ve been thinking a lot in the past year about what makes someone feel love.
Why do we love certain people? Why do we feel moved by certain pieces of art? Why do we feel attached to particular objects, products, or organizations?
Sure, there are all kinds of proper psychological and scientific explanations that we could get into. And we will, another day. But for now... let's consider a subjective definition.
To me the core of that emotional bond is simple. When I start to love someone or something, I feel this certainty – “This is me. I see myself reflected in this.”
The things and people we love make us feel more like ourselves.
As Dr. Marisa G Franco writes in "Platonic":
"Our identity needs to constantly expand for us to be fulfilled, and relationships are our primary means for expansion. That's because when we get close to someone, we include them in our sense of ourselves, a phenomenon aptly termed 'inclusion of others in the self.'"
While that quote may be talking about relationships between people, our brains can feel very similarly about objects or organizations. We can love products because they help us define ourselves. We can love brands that make us want to improve our own lives, work, and businesses.
How to Channel Love in Your Own Marketing
So, to turn this discussion into a proper marketing essay, here's how you can start to incorporate love into your own campaigns:
If you’re trying to promote or sell something, ask yourself – what kinds of people would feel more like themselves through your product or service?
Do you sell software that will help someone code a project they’ve been thinking of for months? Or a tool to write their first novel?
Do you make guitars that someone could use to express their heart through their fingers?
Do you sell baguettes that smell just like someone’s childhood home?
Turn that sincere moment of connection into your messaging. Channel that passion into your content. Infuse that love into every interaction with your prospects and customers.
Superfans who love your brand can become your best marketing partners. Nurture them!
How Love Fits with My Marketing Work
I never ever got hired or paid to do anything with the two companies I love the most. Yet... I’ve gotten to collaborate with people on their teams as a fan. I was lucky enough to create content promoting businesses that light a fire in my soul like no one else could:
It's no secret how much I love SparkToro.
To give you a sense, here's a quote from my public love letter to this software:
"SparkToro is not only a tool that forms the foundation for all of the work we do at our marketing agency, but it’s also a tool that I’ve opened just to have fun. I’ve spent hours playing around with searches while drunk in the middle of the night. I’ve opened SparkToro while bored out of my mind on the 4 hour bus ride from Ithaca to New York City. I’ve interrupted my husband’s study sessions to shove my laptop in his face while exclaiming “LOOK, DID YOU KNOW THAT THIS MANY PEOPLE WERE INTO ANIMAL CROSSING?”.
What I’m trying to say with all of this is that SparkToro is special to me."
Last week I put together the full love story behind my relationship with SparkToro, and the promotional materials that I've created about them. So if you're ever wondered why I love this software so much... this is your answer.
I've been a massive fan of Notion since they first launched in 2016.
I've visited their offices, gotten certified in using their tool, pasted their stickers all over my logo, and spent hundreds of hours learning every single feature.
And now, I have joined their template creator community, which gave me access to a new feature right before the official launch. As of yesterday, I released my first paid template in Notion's official gallery using new database automations:
What's Next? Incorporating Love into Our Work
Now that our agency has been around long enough that we can truly afford to get picky with clients… we will exclusively work on emotional marketing.
Maybe you feel the same. Perhaps you're tired of pumping out content that will gather dust in some forgotten website category for the sake of SEO. Maybe you're frustrated from arguing about word counts, or plotting how to copy competitors without making it look like you stole their ideas. Maybe you, just like me, feel done with stale, soulless marketing.
Instead, try marketing for emotional resonance.
What if your company harnessed the power of love? True love with the force of an earthquake. True love with the glow of the Milky Way in the dark sky. True love that flows through your veins, making every inch of your skin feel like it grew a million new nerves.
Light a fire in people’s eyes. Find the people who will feel like themselves, maybe for the very first time, once they see the benefits of your product or service. Expand their horizon of possibilities for their organizations and careers.
Are you in?
If you want to try an approach to marketing from the heart: let's try it together. I know the power of love for B2B marketing from experiencing that fire myself. The flame that drove me to share content about Notion and SparkToro, and that drives me to write words like everything you've read today. This spark that's so precious and so unbearably rare.
I can help you make your customers feel truly alive. If you want that too... let's schedule a call.
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Top 3 Reading Recommendations
"Treat Your Customers Like Influencers" by Christina Garnett. Christina's become a big influence for me in developing my thoughts on marketing through fans and community. This post distills some of her very best frameworks on nurturing the exact type of customer love I'd written about today.
"Distinguishing constructive criticism from bad business advice" by Jason Cohen. I love Jason's writing, and this old piece really resonated with me. He answers: how do we know which advisors or mentors to trust?
"What Nicolas Cage Can Teach Us About the Challenger Sale" by Cathy Colliver. Marketing advice, great writing, and Nicolas Cage GIFs. What more could you ask for?
"Gasoline" by Maneskin (Live at Global Citizen NYC)
Someone asked me recently how I came up with my fan-driven marketing frameworks. And you can see the answer in this exact video. I am in that audience, crying hysterically next to my husband just a few feet away from the stage. As my favorite band came onto the stage, I felt my entire body evaporate into the music. I had never felt more ecstatic... and I wanted to recreate that feeling for B2B tech.