August 28, 2013 By BJ Cook,
The obsessed with and coveted consumer “click” is not the main objective, it is the result. For digital marketers, this is a provocative and unnerving statement. Bear with me. Any “click”, or behavior of the digital consumer, is the effect of the primary objective; to build a digital experience that creates an emotional connection with consumers and therefore a long-term relationship. When consumers like something or buy it, they may backwards rationalize a logical reason for their actions, but their motivations are emotional. Focusing on their behavior with Pavlovian enthusiasm is not as effective as creating the emotional motivation for the behavior. When a company has created an emotional connection with its customers, the click is a forgone conclusion. The phrase “emotional connection” in marketing holds with it a connotation of fluffy, heartwarming platitudes that are no longer relevant or effective for consumers who have become cynical and indifferent, after marketers have been wallpapering their lives with it for decades. This is why when I refer to an "emotional connection" I don't intend to illicit this connotation, but rather I'm referring to any emotion- excitement, understanding, interest- that connects us. I'm not referring to patronizing "emotional" ads but rather an emotional connection with consumers based on differentiated similar core values. When a company stands for something consumers connect with, and they show that consistently through every medium and in every message, they can develop a meaningful relationship with consumers creating a loyal, even cult-like, consumer following. This connection, I argue, is even more imperative within digital, a medium that too often holds a paradox of connecting people together in a distant manner. We are now connected with more of our consumers, in more ways, and faster than ever before, and yet this medium holds within it a detached sort of synthetic connection. This is why it is necessary to alter this illusion of virtual detachment by allowing consumers to become connected to our clients in an authentic way. We're not just marketing a product, but a differentiated message through a digital experience and a real, not just virtual, connection. Every part of the marketing mix is shown all at once to the digital consumer; it is not disjointed, separately consumed information. All company related information and content can be consumed in seconds and it all affects the consumers' emotional connection to the company, and therefore their motivation to buy. This is why it is vital for digital marketers to express a consistent authentic marketing message through multiple channels, and around that message, create a digital experience. Maintaining this unconscious emotional connection, by creating a consistent digital experience through every aspect of your digital presence, is imperative to develop long-term relationships with consumers. These relationships will not only increase ROI and the value of one’s brand equity, but will also drive lasting, long-term results. And many, many clicks. Need an example of the type of digital experiences and the emotional connections I’m referring to? Take a look at Digital Operative’s work. In the few months I’ve interned at this company I’ve found more examples of this differentiated digital marketing that drives digital consumers’ behavior, than anywhere else. And while this blog entry briefly explains the strategy, if you want to know how to actually DO this, you’re just going to have to work with DO. Victoria is DO's current marketing intern.

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