Marketing EQ: Why Emotional Intelligence Drives Marketing Success
“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!” - Economist Theodore Levitt.
Don’t forget the last “S” in SaaS stands for “Service.” All marketing should serve the customer. The customer seeks one experience where every marketing touch point is a step on the way to achieving their desired outcome. Great marketing starts with empathy. It starts with relating to what they need (a quarter-inch hole).
When marketing to prospects, IQ is invaluable. What’s the volume of potential consumers per channel? How do I improve the conversion rate of my landing page? What’s the customer acquisition cost per channel? Marketing to prospects is very much about numbers, cohorts, volume, i.e. quantifiable analysis.
But when marketing to existing users, emotional intelligence is essential. Google ‘emotional intelligence,’ and you’ll find it’s “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.” When marketing to existing users, the faceless numbers become actual people. They become members of your tribe. Therefore, a deeper understanding of the actual needs and behaviors are essential to serving your tribe.
In Evolving to a New Dominant Logic for Marketing, Berkeley Professors Stephen L. Vargo & Robert F. Lusch argue that the role of the customer has shifted from “the recipient of goods” to the “co-producer of service.”
A product and a service are needed to achieve what job the customer needs. SaaS users shape the future function of the SaaS product because “engaged users are the lifeblood of any software business.” Increasing user engagement through marketing is about conglomerating the software product and the marketing messaging into one ongoing experience throughout the customer’s lifetime value. Maybe today you sell a drill, tomorrow you sell a laser, and the day after you sell the service of an on demand handyman - either way you remain the brand that provides the best quarter inch holes.
Vargo and Lusch explain that marketers used to “do things to customers; segment them, penetrate them, distribute to them, and promote to them…” Now, to achieve service-centered logic, marketing must become “a process of doing things in interaction with the customer. The customer is primarily an operant resource, only functioning occasionally as an operand resource.”
When your marketing truly engages customers, you enable the shift from operand to operant. It’s an acknowledge of participation - a welcomed pivot from monologue to dialogue; a letting go of the innocent bystander mentality - it’s a product’s self-awareness of the user’s role in shaping the brand’s next evolution.
Your customers aren't just a faceless blob. Based on their actions, you can understand why they visit. How can your brand be more hospitality? This requires higher-levels of EQ (mostly empathy) because you know your existing customers and you have to care about delivering them a relevant, personal and considerate experience.
While Salesforce remains ‘CRM’ on Wall Street, it has shifted all of its marketing identification and communication from ‘customer relationship management’ to ‘customer success platform.’ This shift in nomenclature is a brand marketing self awareness of the customer’s emotions. When optimizing customer lifetime value, engagement marketing exists to make relationships successful because hosting an unsuccessful relationship is just bad business.
While the last “S” in SaaS stands for “Service,” it will help to think of the first “S” in SaaS as standing for “Success.” Customers don’t pay SaaS providers for software, customers pay SaaS providers to achieve success in their business goals. The software itself is just a medium. Successfully SaaS marketing starts and ends with why, how and when you provide quarter inch holes.
Photo Credit Allan Afijo.