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How To Market Like You Give A Damn

May 19, 2017
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Market Like You Give A Damn

Creating and building authentic relationships online begins with building trust. Trust takes work. In order to build trust, you need to get to know the other person, just like you would in a non-digital relationship. Oftentimes we forget that behind that other computer screen is a real person with real feelings and emotions. Whether you’re a business owner or a marketer, taking the time to understand the emotional temperament of the people coming to your site will help you to empathize with them and build a deeper, more meaningful connection.

The average American comes in contact with 4,000 to 10,000 marketing messages each day. A large majority of them are just filtered out as noise. We have become so used to being interrupted by traditional advertising that most of us just ignore it. The ones that do end up making it through are either by accident or because they had something special, an emotional connection.

We are drawn to things that move us on an emotional level. Our emotions are indicators of what we like and/or dislike. But emotions are also scary. Our culture has done a great job of telling us “not to be emotional” while also playing with our emotions to get us to buy, click or engage. Just think about the evening news. Why continue to watch one story after another on crime, disaster and the like? Because it messes with us on an emotional level. But what if we learned how to use our emotional intelligence to create and build relationships that are grounded in trust? In my opinion, this is the key to building a business and marketing strategy that will stand the test of time.

The Four Emotional Temperaments

There are many personality tests out there that help you learn more about yourself. One of my favorites is the four temperaments. When doing a Myers-Briggs evaluation, there are 16 possible outcomes. There are also a lot more variables involved, which can make it hard to decipher what personality someone may have. The four temperaments keep it simple and focus on the core emotional drivers each group has. Understanding these four temperaments can help you better empathize with those in your personal and business life. The four temperaments are; sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, and melancholic. The following descriptions can be found in full on this site -


People with a sanguine personality type tend to be lively, optimistic, buoyant, and carefree. They love adventure and have a high-risk tolerance. Typically, sanguine people are very poor at tolerating boredom and will seek variety and entertainment. These people are very creative and may become great artists. In addition, they are fantastic entertainers and will naturally do well if they choose careers in the entertainment industry.


Someone with a phlegmatic personality type is usually a people person. They seek interpersonal harmony and close relationships. Phlegmatic people are loyal spouses and loving parents. They preserve their relationships with old friends, distant family members, and neighbors. People with phlegmatic temperaments tend to avoid conflicts and always try to mediate between others to restore peace and harmony.


Someone with a pure choleric temperament is usually a goal-oriented person. People with choleric personality types are very savvy, analytical, and logical. Extremely practical and straightforward, choleric people aren’t necessarily very good companions or particularly social. They dislike small talk and enjoy deep and meaningful conversations. They would rather be alone than in the company of shallow, superficial people. Ideally, they want to spend time with people who have similar professional interests.


People with the melancholic personality type love traditions. Women cook for men; men open doors for women. They love their families and friends and, unlike sanguine temperament, do not look for novelty and adventure. In fact, they avoid it at all costs. Someone with melancholic temperament is very unlikely to marry a foreigner or leave their homeland for another country.

The Psychology of Marketing

So by now you may be wondering why you are reading about so much psychology on a marketing blog. As I have continued to grow in this industry, one thing has stuck out more than anything else. My job as a marketer is simple, “connect people and businesses in an authentic way.” Now there are a number of mediums I use, like search, content marketing, design and the like, but the core purpose remains the same. I am in the business of creating connections.

A study commissioned but the 4A’s in 2015 brought some very interesting truths to light. "Only 4% of Americans think the marketing industry behaves with integrity, and nearly half of consumers surveyed say they don't trust any news source.” (Source)

"Consumers are getting more astute about the news media and advertising," said 4A's Chief Marketing Officer Alison Fahey. "But we found that only a small percentage of consumers trust advertisers and the media.” In short, people don’t trust marketers and advertising because we don’t take the time to get to know them. We push a product, many times we don’t believe in, and look for ways to manipulate. Of course, people don’t trust our profession. As Seth Godin put it in his book, All Marketers Are Liars, “When we recognize the fraud for what it is, we feel incredibly stupid. Something more than our bank accounts is damaged—our egos are damaged. As a result, it’s almost impossible for the marketer to regain our trust.”

Year after year of being pushed towards products and services consumers don’t need or want has broken trust, and the only way to repair that trust is with vulnerable, authentic marketing. We need to pause for a moment and think about the people we are looking to connect with. We need to understand why they would want to do business with us in the first place. We need to empathize with them and learn about their needs and deliver solutions specifically for them. The only way we can do this is if we understand who they are and how they feel.

It’s All About Personalization

While the internet has connected us and made our world “small” it’s also given us the ability to customize our lives. From web profiles and social medium sites to videos and entertainment, we can get what we want, when we want it and how we want it. Almost anything can be made “just for us.” In a hyper-personalized culture, static, broad messaging won’t do the trick.

There are many great tools to help you personalize your marketing strategy and deliver your users a unique experience, but they are just that, tools. If you don’t understand your users' needs, you won’t have the content or user-focused platform that will attract them in the first place. Personalization starts with empathy. When you can truly place yourself in your audience’s shoes, you can then create an experience they want. This is what the best marketers do. Think about a commercial, ad, a piece of content or interaction with a company that really moved you. Why did it grab you like that? Because it's connected to something deeper.

For me, it was when I started my agency. A friend of mine gave me a busted old Mac Book Pro and said, “If you can fix it, you can have it.” So I called Apple and told them the deal, and they sent me a box so I could send it in for repairs. The box they sent was the first thing that blew me away. It had everything I needed to ship the computer, including tape and they paid for postage. A few days later they called and told me what was wrong with the computer, and the cost would be $950. I told them thanks, but as a new business owner I didn’t have that kind of money, so I guess I’ll have to wait. Then the customer care representative put me on hold and came back and said, can you do $450. I thanked them and then told them that all I had in my account was $200. To my surprise, the representative said, “you know what, this one's on us. You’ll have a new mac at your doorstep tomorrow.” And I did.

That one interaction with Apple stuck with me, and I have been a die-hard Apple fan ever since. I know that one computer isn’t a lot in the grand scheme of things, but for me at that moment it was everything. They took the time to understand my unique position, and they served me. This helped me get started on the right foot, and I am still a huge Apple nerd today. They empathized with me and this lead to trust. Sure, I’ve had a few not so great experiences with them over the years, but that first one was so strong that it keeps me loyal. While this interaction wasn't "traditional marketing" it was marketing. It was a company, sharing their values and connecting with a person who needed their services.

This lesson taught me that if I was going to succeed and help not just my business, but other businesses grow, I had to be grounded in empathy. I had to understand what makes people do what they do. And I must learn how to leverage personalization to meet their emotional needs. While I may not be the most successful agency of all time or even work with the largest businesses in the world, I am proud to say that I run an agency that puts people first. And that is why I love getting up in the morning and serving my team and clients each day.

Ryan Shelley - Edge of the Wed - SEO 

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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