For many of us in marketing it’s easy to fall into a rut. It’s easy to become jaded. It’s easy to start believing after a while that your efforts are no more than just spouting the latest cliché, using the words leveraging, maximizing and optimizing before everything, and just generally going through the motions. You don’t feel like you’re stirring up the pot and driving business. But I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong and not only are you wrong, but your job (marketing) is THE reason people are making the decision to buy. You are the elite and here’s why.

In any market, any segment, any product category, there are many competitors. For this example I’m going to use the hotel industry. The consumer has almost endless choices, but they don’t want unlimited choices, they want the right choices, so this is their process.

See the image, in the bottom row you have ALL hotels. They offer beds, bathroom, privacy, etc…  every one of them offers those basics.

As you narrow down your selection you move up one level. The first options to be weeded out are usually those you have no experience with or have never heard of, so what’s in the next level up are the major players, the brands you are familiar with and possibly some independents.

Now comes segment and price point. Someone searching for say, upscale or luxury, will probably drop all the brands from the other segments. In this example we’ll use upscale. You’re now left with Wyndham, Marriott, Hilton, Radisson, Sheraton, etc.

Here’s where it gets tricky. Now we’re almost at the point where marketing is going to take over. At this point the selection needs to be based on specifics: location, exact price, TripAdvisor reviews, past experience, word-of-mouth, etc.

This brings us to the final, and most important part. The part where you, the marketer, influence whether you convert or lose this sale. At this point, the potential client has 5 options. They are all within 2 miles of the desired location and all within $10 of each other in terms of price. They all offer about the same amenities. They all get 4/5 stars (or circles as the case may be) on TripAdvisor with well over 100 reviews. So, something deeper than pragmatism, something more innate than logic, something more basic than intelligence has to kick in: emotional attachment.

And here, my marketing comrades, is where all of your hard work, your long hours, your dedication, your accumulated knowledge, your meetings, your clichés, your intuition, face their biggest test. Did you not only give them reasons to stay… but did you make them care? Did you create a persona that they relate to? Did you touch their hearts? Did you appeal to their sense of being? Did you not only connect to them… but did you connect with them?

This is our mission, this is our goal, this is why we exist. Through our practice, our trial and error, our pushing ourselves, we get better at converting this sale.

Through our diversified media plan, blending of traditional media with new media, optimizing current strategies and introducing new lateral strategies, through our leveraging of every aspect of the daily life of our current consumer, maximizing our exposure to existing clients, and curating content that is relevant to our target demographic — we turn “maybe” into “absolutely.”

Technically, the article is over, but I will leave you with this. Louis Vuitton, arguably one of the most coveted brands in the world, brand equity at a level few will ever achieve. But why? Their handbags don’t hold themselves, they don’t make the 18 pounds of stuff you have inside lighter, they don’t give you compliments as you’re getting dressed in the morning… and best of all, they don’t claim to do any of these. They don’t discuss features, price point, why you need it, nothing. They just show you pretty photos of pretty people, wearing pretty clothes, doing pretty things. (And oftentimes they skip the people, the clothes and the things… and even the PRODUCT!

This is not a pragmatic or logical approach. In fact, it flies in the face of all things that marketers hold dear. They don’t explain the benefits, they don’t “bullet point” the features, they just create an emotional, internal connection with their audience. And how has this worked out for them? Let’s just say this, people don’t just buy the brand itself, but they buy KNOCK-OFFS of it. Imagine this again. You’re in NYC, maybe Chinatown, surrounded by 100 bags, all knock-offs, all $35 a pop, and all about the same size… and yet many people will STILL choose the LV knock-off. THAT, my marketing friends is emotional attachment to a product.