People make purchasing decisions based on emotion and logic.

Say you want to buy a car with specific features, including a five-speed manual transmission. That’s the logical side of the decision-making — finding a car with the specific features desired.

Then say you find the car with the features and fall in love with the color, the feel of sitting behind the steering wheel, the aroma of the leather interior. That’s the emotional side of the purchase.

The salespeople able to bridge the gap between logic and emotion are apt to get their customers to purchase their goods and services, said Mark Bittle, Century Link market development manager for southern Colorado.

“Most people can understand there’s a logical experience and an emotional experience,” Bittle said.

“I think of marketing as a means to get people interested in your product or service. They don’t necessarily have to pay for it. It’s all about a relationship. If you don’t have the relationships with people, who’s going to listen to the message?”

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One problem businesses have is they don’t know their target market, he said.

To get an idea of a target demographic and to reach it, Terry Zarsky at the Pikes Peak Library District can help. She teaches a class called “Minding Your Business,” an introduction to the library’s database.

“Just by having a library card, you can get access to the databases,” Bittle said.

The information can be broken down by gender and owners of businesses. It also can be broken down by titles in the company.

“It’s amazing what’s out there. It could be a full semester of classes in one and a half hours. She is a remarkable resource,” Bittle said of Zarsky.

“Marketing is an emotional medium,” said Camille Blakely, president of Blakely + Co. “The more senses you can engage, the more successful you will be.”

For example, research is being conducted now that would transmit scents through the television, she said.

Relationships matter

People do business with people they know, like and trust, Bittle said. At CenturyLink, it was important for Bittle to become invested in the community. To do so, he manages CenturyLink’s sponsorships within the Colorado Springs business community through Colorado College, Broadmoor World Arena, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Sky Sox, Colorado Springs Conservatory, Junior Achievement, Pikes Peak United Way, and Care and Share Food Bank.

The top goal is to develop and maintain a positive relationship with the customers, understanding what they need, creating value to help them take care of the need and then ask for the sale.

“It’s a challenge,” Bittle said.

Inbound, outbound advertising

Inbound marketing involves content creation that drives the consumer to the brand. For example, in social media, the advertising agency creates content that is in front of people and they take action.

“They click on it, and it goes to a splash page or website. Blogs are another example” where the advertiser creates the relationship with the consumer, and the consumer seeks out the goods and services as a result of the marketing, Blakely said.

“If there was enough interesting content, they come seek us out. It’s different marketing; one-on-one has to be approached differently, and the writing has to be much more personal.”

In digital media messages, the marketer must be respectful of the consumer, because they’re being delivered at home, in the office or in the car of the consumer, she said.

“It’s more of an interaction and a relationship with the consumer. These are fantastic opportunities for dialogue,” Blakely said. “If we’ve intrigued them enough, with our content or the event, and they’ve trusted me by ‘liking’ that or signing up, I need to honor that by being respectful of their time.”

Outbound marketing tends to be the traditional marketing effort — pushing messages out to the consumer, such as in television, newspapers, billboards, direct mail.

“Outbound marketing is just as important as inbound,” Blakely said.

Blakely completed a marketing program recently for Colorado Education Solution, a 100-percent-online public school. In that program, the agency used inbound and outbound advertising. What’s most important, Blakely said, is to have a strategic marketing plan, complete with goals, strategies, timelines and budget.

“That creates the road map and discipline for any brand or campaign,” she said.

The strategic plan is the anchor for any advertising or public relations campaign, she said, “or then it becomes like a kid in a candy store.”

A successful marketing package “doesn’t work unless you can track the results,” Bittle said, and that can be difficult.

“You have to remember to ask the question [how did you arrive at the decision to purchase?], write it down and share the answer with the department that is running that campaign,” he said.

Branding, marketing

Branding and marketing are different, Bittle said. The brand is the “take-away feeling you have,” he said.

The brand is the business, he added, “the impression you leave on others.”

Marketing creates leads for businesses. Initially, marketing is a form of communication by which a business informs others of its products or services, hoping for a sale.

The brand of CenturyLink is based on how involved the company is in the community, he said.

Bittle highlighted talks given by writer and lecturer Simon Sinek, who developed what he called the Golden Circle. The circle lists “why” in the middle, “how” next to that, and “what” outside of the circle.

“Every organization knows what they do. Some know how they do it. But very few people know why — not just [for] profit, they do it, what is your cause, your belief and why should anyone care,” Sinek said in a YouTube video. Traditional marketers think from the outside-in, using the Golden Circle. They think what they’re selling first; how they’re selling it second; and why they have created this particular product to sell.

Apple, on the other hand, operates from the inside-out, he said.

“Apple’s just a computer company,” like so many others, Sinek said. However, its leaders think differently and challenge the status quo, and that’s one reason the company has found success. 

  • There’s certainly a lot to find out about this issue. I really like all of the points you’ve made.