Is marketing EQ becoming more important than IQ? If building a successful brand or simply selling your “stuff” depends on creating an emotional connection with your target audience, is your level of emotional intelligence as a marketer becoming as important as your ability to implement marketing tactics?
As social media and online marketing continue to provide infinite access to the marketplace, will your success be based more on learning how to use the tools or understanding the emotional needs of the people you are communicating with?
Changing Skill Set
Social media and search technology has changed the way businesses communicate with their tribes. New marketing skills will likely need to emerge and evolve in order to keep pace and increase the odds of success.
Louise Robertson, owner of Bright Business Concepts, a marketing communication agency in Guildford, UK, feels that the required skill set for marketers is changing rapidly.
“Building a successful brand depends on the ability to create an emotional connection with a target audience and the ability to message these groups in an engaging manner,” says Robertson. “Success is not only based on learning to use the tools but understanding the emotional needs defined by target audiences.”
Okke Amerongen, Owner of Okke Internet, a web consultancy in Utrecht, Netherlands believes the importance of emotional intelligence is highly underrated by marketers. He theorizes that the dynamics of traditional marketing create a Jeckell and Hyde complex amongst some marketers.
“Most marketeers actually have a high EQ when you meet them outside of work,” says Amerongen. “Once they take on their professional role as company marketers, most of them will think of ways to talk TO people and not WITH people.”
On the other end of the spectrum, Erica Friedman, President of Yuricon LLC, a publisher based in New York City, validates emotional connectivity but leans towards marketing IQ as being more important.
“Unless the emotional connection to a brand can be converted into action for a brand, emotion is pretty meaningless,” says Friedman. “I can say I ‘like’ or ‘love’ a brand, but unless there is some action attached to it, my support is empty – If marketers want to understand emotional equity, they need to understand how to harness that emotional energy…Just becoming a fan of a brand isn’t enough.”
Deborah Bifulco, Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach and Owner of Bifulco Business Solutions LLC, an entrepreneur focused coaching and mentoring practice in New York City, thinks that your marketing EQ and IQ can’t really be separated. She suggests that, in order to be an effective marketer, businesses need to understand what drives people to buying decisions – and that implies some level of EQ.
“Granted, there are plenty of ‘functional’ marketers who are stuck on the facts, figures, mechanics, and metrics of marketing,” says Bifulco. “But, when you look at truly successful campaigns, more often than not, you will find that they have engaged us emotionally on some level.”
The New Frontier
Creating an emotional bond with the consumer is a fundamental in advertising – but has social media, and the possibility of engaging in real time micro-interactions, changed the relationship between marketing IQ and EQ? If so, how?
Martin Smith, Chief Technology Officer at TruEffect, a relationship advertising firm based in Denver, Colorado, feels that advertisers already understand the importance of an emotional connection at the mass market level – but that the need to balance EQ and IQ is becoming more visible when delving into the micro-marketing.
“Brand building in traditional media was/is all about EQ creating the emotional connection of the product to the consumers that, on a mass basis, moved the most share in aggregate,” says Smith. “In focus groups consumers relayed the emotion of how their soap powder was like a ‘white knight’ or other powerful sentiment of their association to the personality of the product.”
However, when it comes to social media, the playing field has totally changed. The single mass market has turned into multiple micro-groups, each with different needs. This highlights the importance of both tactical knowledge and emotional intelligence.
“In a market where we measure share, intent, action and need at a single user level, we are now able to see the balance more clearly,” says Smith. “But more importantly, we can take action on smaller groups – This creates new tension in the yin and yang of EQ/IQ. Instead of single position we can now move to micro-groups of multiple millions.”
In closing, Smith goes on to say that marketing in the social media era is not so much about increasing EQ over IQ or vise verse, but rather, understanding the difference and importance of both with the aim creating an effective combination.
“Now it is about aligning the optimal message (to micro-segmented audiences) to key drivers of engagement that combine EQ & IQ,” says Smith. “The traditional drivers of response, audience, timing, offer, creative, etc. are now within the web context – So when you work both sides of it, that is when you truly see results that deliver on the promise. We now have a different challenge of making ourselves relevant and emotionally connected with audiences of one in real time . . .but then that is why we built what we’ve built.”
BACK TO MAIN BLOG