emotional porn

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Andreas has some more thinking about Seth and Purple Cows:

Does being remarkable guarantee success? We all know that it doesn’t. Take the portable mp3 player as an example. Apple’s iPod is the market leader, with a 75% share of the market. But was Apple the first company to make portable mp3 players? Not at all. Is the iPod the most feature rich player with the best battery life? Not by a long shot. The companies that pioneered the technology are being left behind or are abandoning the market altogether, despite having created a purple cow if ever there was one. Their mistake? Not communicating that fact effectively. Not becoming part of popular culture.
So what’s responsible for the success if the iPod if it’s neither price, nor features? In a word: Marketing. Advertising. Advertising and marketing that is creating an emotional attachement. People choose the products they buy – apart from price – for three reasons, how they see themselves, how they want to see themselves or how they want to be seen.
Successful advertising, in all its incarnations, including blogs, including WOM, is all about creating the emotional attachment. It’s about becoming a part of who the customer is, or wants to be, or wants to be seen as. It’s really that simple.

I think “Emotional Attachment” is overrated as a marketing concept.
Often when marketers, especially advertisers, speak of “Emotional Attachment”, what they’re really talking about is “Emotional Pornography”.
Which is rarely “remarkable” to begin with.

Comments

  1. iPod’s success was due to Marketing and Advertising? Ha. iPod’s early adopters would disagree loudly.
    And…I wouldn’t put blogs and WOM into the advertising category ever. Advertising is push and pull. Blogs, WOM and other conversations are fluid and organic (well, mostly, anyways – the forced and contrived by ‘advertising’ types stand out like a sore thumb). People talk about stuff on blogs because it’s worth talking about…it’s…ahem…remarkable.
    But it’s not necessarily the product that needs to be remarkable. It could be the people behind it – the stories (another Godin gem). As a gratuitous plug, Stormhoek is growing, not because the wine is necessarily remarkable (although I’m waiting for that US shipment to open up!), it’s because you are telling a compelling story to a group of people who are happy to pass that story along (because we all have a stake in it, which makes it remarkable AND viral).
    The iPod is remarkable for many reasons. It breeds a true emotional attachment (never achievable through those pretty ads, which ARE pretty, but it took touching a friend’s iPod to make me go ‘oooooooooo’) through various sensory pings…the greatest of which, I believe, is touch. Do you have an iPod? Have you ever noticed that you don’t play it, you ‘caress’ it?
    It’s not a ‘marketing concept’, as you say, but it IS a conversation topic, which is even more powerful.
    The 4 Gig Nano is sold out in the Bay area after 3 weeks. There is a waiting list that is predicted takes us into the new year…I hate the ad. Most people I know find it unremarkable. But, when you touch this gorgeous little machine, you want it right now.
    What was my point? Oh…yes…tell me that’s not remarkable…

  2. I like ‘remarkable’ especially when I can write about the ‘remarkable’ bad service, products, and other things on the other side of the ‘remarkable’ coin. Especially if they want to separate me from my money, or when their value proposition get flushed down the toilet, when marketing does not follow through with quality or service.
    I don’t care what color the damn cow is.

  3. “And…I wouldn’t put blogs and WOM into the advertising category ever. Advertising is push and pull. Blogs, WOM and other conversations are fluid and organic”
    Allow me to respectfully disagree with that statement. As soon as you’re selling something, regardless by what means, TV, blog, directed WOM, you’re advertising. You’re marketing. You’ve crossed the line, you’re one of us ;)
    There is nothing inherently bad or shameful about advertising, at least in my personal opinion. As Hugh advertising Stormhoek? Of course he is. Is that a bad thing? Of course not. He’s helping a company reaching more customers. Is Stormhoek wine in any way remarkable? From the reports I’ve read (I am in Canada and our archaic liquor laws prohibit promotions like Hugh’s) it’s a pleasant, quaffable white. It appears to be a good product, but not better than others competing in the same field.
    So why is Hugh’s campaign successful? Emotional attachment, tribalism, that’s why. You’re receiving a recommendation from a source you’re already emotionally attached to, that attachment is transferred to the product advertised.
    None of which is a bad thing.

  4. “It appears to be a good product, but not better than others competing in the same field.”
    Andreas, I would argue that last point. Sure, there are better wines out there. But at the

  5. Hi Hugh
    As I’ve said, I haven’t had a chance to sample the product yet :)
    Should it ever be available in Canada I’ll make sure to try it.
    I wasn’t attacking or badmouthing the product in any way, I am sorry if it came across that way. All I am saying is that it appears to be, from my point of view, a very drinkable, extremely reasonably priced everyday white. This is a segment of the market traditionally occupied by the Chilean winemakers and there’s little about this that’s remarkable in itself.
    What’ IS making this remarkable is the way you’re marketing the product.

  6. “I am in Canada and our archaic liquor laws prohibit promotions like Hugh’s”
    Liquor laws are provincial, aren’t they? If so, maybe Qu

  7. When I talk about the conversation and fluidity of WOM and blogs, I’m not talking about the orchestration of this…
    Hugh is orchestrating it and he IS marketing Stormhoek through blogging.
    I’m talking about what happens organically in the blogosphere. When there is a remarkable product, good advertising or not, the word spreads without much marketing experience at all. Sure, we’ll get in there and try to push it along, but conversations between groups of non-invested people ain’t marketing. It’s conversation. Period.
    T.

  8. Oh and…btw…I just recently moved to San Fran from Toronto, so I totally understand about the archaic liquor laws. I was actually hired years ago by a small brewery trying to promote a new cooler in the Ontario market. They had a very small budget and I created a totally viral & POS campaign (no blogs). The LCBO turned it down because the spend wasn’t big enough. They didn’t even read the proposal. They have a minimum ad spend and that’s that.
    That’s what is also remarkable about Hugh’s technique here…it is setting new precedents for people to circumvent the old tv/industrial complex. We’ve been using the Kryptonite example for too long now…;) We need some positive ones.
    Go Hugh!
    T.

  9. Tara
    ‘Non invested’ is the crucial word. People like me, Hugh and you are invested.
    I also believe that your opinion about the strength of the blogosphere is overly optimistic. A critical mass is needed for WOM to have any effect at all. And that critical mass is not easily reached. While it has worked for some products, there are many others that have simply been ignored.

  10. shelley Noble says:

    To me being a purple cow involves more than being a good idea. It requires a connection, emotionally usually, to the public. iPod did that. The other products didn’t. Ergo, they were not purple cows at all.

  11. Shelley, I agree with you personal definition of purple cow a lot more than I agree with Seth Godin’s. Of course he is a well know marketing genius and I am not. So take that with a grain of salt ;-)

  12. Would iPod be so successful without TV advertising? Imagie a world without TV, how would apple have created the desire to own one of their creations?

  13. There are many examples, I am sure, of great marketing/advertising campaigns (maybe someone can explain the difference to me one day between marketing and advertising) for products that are not purple cows and, indeed, have no intrinsic worth at all or are not in any way differentiating. I am sure some of these are succesfull- in the short term. Until, indeed, people find out.
    I am no marketer but it seems clear that if the marketer can make an “emotional”connection to that which they are marketing then the campaign (if that is the right word) becomes that much simpler.
    The argument that the iPod is succesful because of the marketing campaign and the marketing campaign alone is foolish and to a large extent elevates marketing to being more important than the product itself.
    In this case, the product does indeed sell itself – this is true, it cannot be denied – don’t try, you’ll lose – you will, trust me. The purpose of marketing in this case is to allow the product the chance to sell itself. Construct your own equation: great product + great marketing = ..?
    So, shouldn’t all advertisers/marketers be on a ceaseless search for the “purple cow”so they can market a product they believe in – so they don’t have to lie or spin a story tangential to the truth?
    :bM

  14. As an owner of several generations of MP3 players from several manufacturers, I can say that the iPod did not succeed because of excellent marketing.
    It succeeded because of excellent marketing of an unusually well-balanced product.

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