In his monthly column, Brian Gray from Glasgow-based erotic marketing agency Lascivious Marketing offers his thoughts on all things marketing. This month he’s asking what’s more important to erotic retailers: facts or feelings?
So…..Christmas and New Year’s Day feel like
ages ago. Valentine’s Day is also in the rear view mirror. Are you now needing a
holiday to catch your breath? I don’t blame you. My own start to 2020 was – and
I’m not over exaggerating – dramatic. I’ll spare you the gory details but it
certainly lent me some perspective on life, the universe and everything. I came
out of it with a new found conviction to not sweat the small stuff. By that I
mean the trivial things – or people – that shouldn’t be taking up one’s
thoughts. A second by-product was deciding to tolerate less crap.
Probably top of the list of the people not
to be taken too seriously are the ones who, when faced with an alternative
viewpoint or argument backed up with facts and evidence, scream, name call, or
cry ‘victim’. You know, the ones who stress the importance of feelings over
Thankfully, in our industry we shouldn’t
have to dispute the importance of facts and figures. If one of your customers
orders a 34B bra, then the seamstresses will have ensured that your customer
gets a B and not a D cup. A dildo manufacturer selling products specifically
measured at eight inches will be in the firing line if customers report that
they’re six, or ten, inches instead. Think about your own website analytics and
sales figures too. More rock solid, quantifiable, specific stuff.
Similarly, your bank manager will have an
exact idea of how your company is performing, as does the tax man: in short, there
are no vagaries here. Facts matter; details matter. And if you’re not on board
with this then good luck with whatever career you end up in. It won’t be
running your own business, that’s for sure.
Now, to my regular readers, this is the
point where you most likely sit up and expect me to either contradict myself
wonderfully, play Devil’s Advocate or otherwise say something else that’s
incredible (sometimes I even go the extra mile and attempt all three).
Well, no, not really. Sure, facts and
specific numbers are very important. The above examples aptly highlight as much.
But passion and feelings matter in this business for obvious reasons. And some
Firstly, think about yourselves. If you’ve
just recently started out in this industry, you surely didn’t get involved in
this industry because it was such an easy way to make money, did you? There’s easier
ways to earn the cash.
No, you’re doing it for the passion. The
passion that comes from the explosion of ideas in your head – presumably at
least some of them are naughty – then the creative process of designing your
first product range, or getting involved in the brand creation process. And
it’s that same passion you want to be reminded of when you’re neck deep in
invoicing or webpage meta descriptions and H1 and H2 tag writing.
And what about customers? How important is
all this to the people considering buying your wares?
To such an extent that it will directly affect whether they buy from you
or not. For decades we’ve been told consumers are generally quite sensible when
it comes to purchasing things. Yes, the use of emotion to influence and drive
purchase behaviour is nothing new per se but at the same time it was often
looked down upon, especially in B2B markets. We also had the oft quoted
‘Rational Consumer Theory’ bouncing around.
But with advances in medical imaging
technology and neuroscience (and subsequently neuromarketing), things have
I’ll spare you most of the science but it
largely involves the brain’s limbic system and Somatic Marker Theory (read up
on it at your leisure). Put simply, there’s a whole bunch of arguments now maintaining
that it’s our emotions that are not only influencing our consumer decision
making but are the absolute driving force. We act on emotion and will then analyse,
justify and rationalise it later with information. Furthermore, our emotional
decision making is far quicker than our comparatively ‘lazy’ rational decision
making process. Our emotions are driving luxury and pleasure purchases: are you
sitting up yet, wondering how you incorporate this in your own marketing? You’d
Think about your prospects’ current
emotional state. Perhaps it’s sadness, fear, anger or disgust. Now think about
the emotional state you want them to be in once they’ve read your product
webpage, advert or Instagram caption. Excitement, envy, happiness? There’s a
list of nearly twenty emotions you can pick and choose from, and subsequently use
to your marketing advantage. So get thinking about how you can really improve
your content for the better by evoking favourable emotional responses from your
For retailers thinking about website
product pages, don’t just regurgitate what your suppliers have sent you. Get
emotional! Have some brilliant imagery that ties in with the big idea
surrounding the particular product in terms of its features or how or where it
can used etc. Then before you go anywhere near a sales pitch, get your
prospects emotionally involved. Tell a story, paint a picture or scenario that’s
relatable, gets their juices flowing and stirs the requisite emotions and
feelings. Only when you think you’ve got them duly tempted and absorbed in what
you’ve got to say, do you then think about mentioning your features, but more
so the benefits. Remember: sell the sizzle and not the sausage!
So while I’m still unrepentant about my
feelings towards individuals who can’t discuss or debate without throwing hissy
fits and becoming melodramatic, I’m all for emotion in the context of the
erotic retailing industry. The more the better actually.
In the first instance I want to see emotion
and passion from the individual erotic entrepreneurs at the start of their
journey and maintained throughout. I want to see the conception, birth and
subsequent management of really distinctive and meaningful brands. Brands that
aren’t just liked, but ones that customers really emotionally connect with: so
much so that they’re not just merely emotional, but positively evangelical,
singing your praises far and wide.
Then when it comes down to the nitty gritty
of making a profit, you’re only going to do so if you continue on the
metaphorical love train. Exploit (within reason of course!) the way our
emotions rule the roost. Make sure your website gives prospects no real alternative
but to be driven by their emotions. And it’s the same for your Instagram
captions, and your email subscribers.
So in the battle of facts and details versus
feelings and emotions who wins? It has to be considered a healthy draw. Both
are essential as is an understanding of when they should be employed to best
effect. That and a very factual, highly specific, highly quantifiable, and very
satisfying monthly sales report!
Brian can be contacted at lasciviousmarketing.com, found on Instagram @lasciviousmarketing or phoned on +44 (0)141 255 0769.