February is upon us and since this year’s Superbowl commercials aren’t worth commenting on, let’s talk about how love can help your marketing instead.
To love is to know.
How well do you know your clients? You probably have a relationship in some way but do you really know them? Knowing as a verb has many levels: to perceive directly, have direct cognition of, to recognize the nature of, to have experience of, to be aware of the truth or factuality of, be convinced or certain of, and to have a practical understanding. That’s a lot of ways to know! Try using more than your intellectual understanding or go beyond what’s presented on the surface to really know your clients at one or more of these levels. Do you have a sense of their issues, concerns, desires? How about what shapes their decision making? Can your clients be grouped together in similar ways? Are you aware of what delights them? Or what they are striving for both personally and professionally? What if you looked beyond them to their greater social or professional circles? What conclusions can you draw from that knowledge? This goes beyond knowing their “pain point” to also know what kind of things motivate, inspire, and drive them. It’s to see them as the humans they are.
Why do you need to know them? Well, as humans we have a primal need for being seen and understood, so you are offering a profound gift to another when you take the time to do so. As much as we like getting, it feels good, too, when we give. It also works in your favor. It takes the guess work out of your product/service mix, as well as, your marketing messaging. If you understand what problems your clients are trying to resolve, along with who they are, you can speak directly their needs and concerns in ways that inspire them to act. Business is more satisfying when you are relating rather than guessing. It’s also the glue that keeps relationships going—the more you know them, the more love you can give to them—and that’s a cyclical process with no end
Share the love.
Once you know—and love—your clients, be sure to share that information with your colleagues. Everyone in your organization (or your vendors, if you are a soloprenuer) should know how to interact in a loving, that is, caring deeply or highly service oriented, way for your clients. Since not everyone can get to know everyone, it’s vital that you find a way to share this information so that your business can convey your love in all of it’s client interactions. A brand is really everything your company does and says, so using your knowledge to consistently treat your clients well in every company interaction is important. A client who feels loved is the most likely to love your brand in return. Research has shown that consumers who love brands are more loyal, less price sensitive, and more forgiving of mistakes. That’s the perfect client, right?
All other meanings containing pleasure, passion or fondling aside, love means “to like or desire actively” and “to thrive in.” If you don’t have these feelings for your clients, then why are you working with them? We spend more time per day working than we do anything else. Gen Xers demanded that we do what we love. Now the Millennials want us to love who we do it with. If you want to succeed in this changing world, you’ll need to have a driving compassion to contribute to your clients lives. Or to see their side, with all the choices people have today, they tend to go where they feel valued and cared for. We’ve become very sensitive to being generic or just a means to an end. But really, who doesn’t want to thrive in the company of another? Isn’t that why all those songs and poetry are written about falling in love? If loving your clients is to be thriving in business with them, that’s a win-win for both parties. Don’t worry, you don’t have to use the L-word with your staff—maybe words like contribution, compassion, caring, or being of service fit your culture better—but the bottom line is that love rules all.
Linda believes that small business owners can step into a better version of their business when they embrace authenticity and become more fully themselves. Her 25-year marketing career has included Kimpton Hotels, Jamba Juice, and Disney helping her clients win awards and placements in publications like The Wall Street Journal and TIME Magazine, as well as on the front cover of WIRED magazine. You can visit her website here: lindabasso.com or join her FB conversation.