Don Draper Wins with Emotion (Part 3 of a series)

In Part 2, I started my list of ways B2B marketers can charge our campaigns with emotional engagement. It’s a technique that Don Draper uses in every pitch (as in this clip on YouTube), and that we can learn from in today’s world of analytical marketing techniques. Here are some additional techniques for content marketers.

Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes. What is important to them? What emotions are they feeling during the buying process? And what emotion compels them to consider your offering? If you are unsure of the answer, ask your best client—she felt those emotions herself.

As you put on your buyer’s shoes, be sure to take off your own. Just because your company is divided by certain lines of business, or has a new product to launch, that doesn’t mean that your prospect cares. Especially early in the cycle, speak in the buyer’s language. Your job is to tell, not sell, to earn the buyer’s trust—an emotional bond.

One step, one goal: don’t boil the ocean. Each element of a campaign, such as a subject line, a headline, a paragraph of copy in an email, or a landing page, needs one goal and only one goal. The purpose of the headline is to get readers to read the copy below it. The purpose of the copy is to compel readers to follow your call to action. The purpose of the landing page is to give readers a clear understanding of what they can expect from your offer. And so forth.

The “one goal per element” rule will give your content clarity and focus that prospects will appreciate, and it will help you to tie each campaign, and each element of a campaign, to your content strategy and thus to the buying cycle.

Rely on good content that allows your buyers to self-select. With a content strategy in place that appeals to the stages of the buying cycle, you can determine which stage any given buyer is in by observing the content that appeals to her. Marketing automation tools provide this insight. The objective is a new paradigm that marries these two paradigms:

  • Don Draper’s emotional pitch, where 50% of his efforts are working, but he doesn’t know (or care) which 50%.
  • The technology- and process-driven approach of today, where we measure 100% of our efforts, but alas, only 50% of them are working.

Given today’s tools, we can move that 50% up, perhaps to 80% or more, and know which 80% of our efforts are working.

Delivering content to our buyers according to their emotional needs, tied to the stages of the buying cycle, removes a lot of the guesswork from this new paradigm. As 21st-century businesspeople, we are already adept at making the rational argument for buyers to buy. We balance our approach by introducing emotion, as Don Draper’s “Mad Men” contemporaries did in the days long before the Internet and marketing automation. Don’s most powerful tool was human emotion, delicate but potent—a tool that is just as powerful today when we remember to use it.

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