The need for emotions in the inbound marketing world

Hubspot recently published an article about “Selling to Cyborgs”. The idea is that we are all cyborgs now, with our smartphones acting as an exo-brain. As such, we have much better knowledge to make decisions, and there is very little room for outbound advertising “bullshit”. So, hail inbound marketing!

I subscribe to the inbound marketing philosophy fully, and honestly do believe that advertising as we saw it 20, 30 years ago is on the decline. A dramatic one at that, because advertising always seemed so permanent and enduring.

But, I would caution against radical generalizations. There is always room for bullshit. And you don’t call it bullshit, you call it emotions.

Motorcycle… Not mine, but close!

At the end of the day, 50-90% of all consumer decisions made are for emotional fulfillment. I recently purchased a motorcycle, and though I do use it for regular travel, I must admit – it is just fun! If I really thought with my left brain, I should have purchased a car: it is a safer, 4-season vehicle that also carries cargo and passengers. I didn’t. 

What was that advertising line…
“How about I come over and make you forget all about him?”

So, how do people purchase emotions? A want must be triggered. People don’t all of a sudden start searching for “experience near death fear while jumping out of a perfectly good airplane at 3,000 ft, followed by heavenly bliss of weightlessness“. They see a picture, they see a video, they hear a story. Only then do they become aware of and research the possibility of doing it with their own body.

There is a peculiar fact about emotions: they usually do not come from within, they need to be sparked from the outside. It is obviously the case that if you could generate emotions on your own, you would not need any and all of today’s “fancy” products beyond the ones that provide basic utility and life support. Hey, if you are happy, you don’t need a cupcake to make you so. If you are healthy, you don’t think about health insurance.

The purchase of emotions thus presents a logical case for outbound marketing to continue to exist alongside with inbound marketing. Both are needed, both work. Now, lets hit the road on 2 wheels!

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