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Editor's Note:

I just wanted to let my readers know that I've created a blog where I will be posting essays and articles I've written on digital and online marketing. It's an extension of Media Perspectives. I hope you continue to read and enjoy!

Here's the link: Jaffer Ali's Blog - Perspectives from a Media Contrarian

Thanks for Reading!

O Captain, My Captain
By: Jaffer Ali

Let's not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it.
--Vincent Van Gogh

I do a fair amount of reading, but most of the quotations I reference in my writing come from personal favorites collected over the past thirty years. For more than a decade now, I have been sending them to a following that has grown to number about 20,000 readers.

My writing topics are often sparked by quotes that relate to what we do for a living. The Van Gogh quotation above is one of these. I use it with the full knowledge that Van Gogh understood a great deal about emotion but very little about marketing.

He could not sell his paintings when he was alive and his way of endearing himself to the love of his life was to cut off his ear and mail it to her in a box. Dale Carnegie he wasn't. But in the spirit of trusting the tale and not the teller, Van Gogh can teach us a thing or two about online advertising...if we only listen with both ears.

The digital revolution has brought many wonderful changes to our lives. But like each and every other technology, our cherished digital tools come with a real downside to consider, namely: The more that digital intrudes in our lives, the more emotionally disconnected we become.

Of course this is reflected in online advertising. With so little emotional capital invested, declining performance should come as no surprise. That's because our industry leaders, if you can call them that, are looking for love in all the wrong places, no surprise since love - as a purely emotional creature - falls far beyond the narrow confines of their algorithmically attuned sensibilities.

Ask yourself: As a marketing professional, how much of your time is actually spent trying to understand your audience? HOW do you engage them? WHAT motivates them? WHY do they -- or you, for that matter -- care? Just about every philosopher and psychologist on the planet agrees that emotions rule our lives. Not numbers, not statistics, not metrics. Emotions.

When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.
--Dale Carnegie

How many seminars or media conferences address the emotional component of marketing? We need to grab people's attention. Isn't this the first step in the marketing mating dance? Yet when we ignore passion and emotion, we find it difficult, if not impossible, to break through the growing clutter.

As marketers, we must recognize the need to change how we interact with the audience -- not by just grabbing their attention, but by cultivating it once we have it. We must understand the crucial role emotion plays in this process, and apply its lessons accordingly.

Most brand advertisers, marketers and their agencies are too busy chasing string to focus on what needs to be done. As an industry, we perceive Web surfers as rational automatons. And the marketing models we've designed to identify and reach them involve amassing ever growing amounts of data in hopes of predicting future behavior.

Meanwhile, with virtually no emotional compass whatsoever, advertising effectiveness and content quality continue to stray from the path.

But there is a way out. It involves rethinking the way we engage audiences. It means understanding where the nexus of engagement resides. The process can begin anywhere, but by creating what author Maggie Jackson calls a climate of distraction, it becomes apparent that communication between audience and brand is best controlled and enhanced on the advertiser's own site.

An actual illustration is in order. More than 40 million people have seen a short video clip about a lion cub raised in the UK and then released into the wild. Most viewed it on YouTube.

In this example, the video snacking takes place on a site that controls the climate of distraction (or what Bill Bernbach called the environment to buy). Also notice the post roll AFTER the snacking takes place. (Full disclosure sister produced this snack, the post roll and landing page.) And the other disclosure is that my media company is providing her with hundreds of thousands of online video snackers.

Let me close by asking a simple question of those of you who clicked on the above link...did you feel anything?


Original Article: O Captain, My Captain

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