How Marketing Experts Can Leverage Emotional Intelligence

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How Chief Marketing Officers Can Apply Emotional Intelligence to Drive Peak Performance

Organizations are set up primarily to harness the human and material resources at their disposal in a productive and profitable manner amongst other objectives. In a simplistic description, profit is the difference between an organization’s revenues and its costs. In another simplistic description, revenue for an organization is derived by multiplying the unit price of its products and services by the number of units sold. This background is very important because the sustained existence of an organization is predicated on its ability to successfully communicate the value of their offerings to their respective stakeholders.

Emotional intelligence then becomes a very necessary tool for Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) to have because for example, buying decisions for customers are driven more by emotions than by logic. It is therefore imperative the CMOs to constantly push the needle in terms of finding ways to connect and influence the decisions of these stakeholders in a way that drives peak performance. Beyond just the bottom line and other quantitative metrics, other qualitative outcomes will be improved upon by the right application of some the following hacks.

Be Humane

When customers, investors, employees, regulators and other stakeholders are being engaged – empathy should be the watchword. People want to know that you genuinely want to address their pain points and not just seeing them as a statistic in your business model. You have to be honest about your motives for marketing, talk to them about the need you want to meet not just about the product you want to sell. People can sense when they are being respected and when they are being extorted – it’s easier to get desired results from a customer base that feels that their concerns and interests are dear to the hearts of an organization.

Nike is one of the most successful organizations in the world today not so much because they make the best shoes or athletic gears but more because they have mastered sports marketing. For example, in the United States where athletes of colour and other minorities have opportunities skewed against them, Nike has championed the advocacy for diversity, inclusion, discrimination and gender equality more than it has advertised its products. Even their famous tagline, “Just Do It” – has little to do with products or services.

Use The Appropriate Messaging

The great South African leader, Nelson Mandela once said that, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. What this means when put in the context of marketing that the head of a person is a metaphor for logic while the heart is a metaphor for emotions. In marketing, how you say or present something is even more important than what you’re saying. As a CMO, you must be able to identify your target market and core audience and fine tune your message to appeal to them. By mirroring their language, organizations can better drive peak performance.

MTN Nigeria knows that the largest demography of its customer-base is young people, urban professionals and internet-savvy users. Recently, it just launched a thematic marketing campaign, We Move – to celebrate the industry of young Nigerians who are doing their best despite the lack of a conducive environment. We Move is one of the popular catchphrases that is used on Nigeria’s internet space and MTN brilliantly adopted it and developed radio jingles, television commercials and other media materials. It was less about their service offerings hence more people found it very relatable.

Have An Endgame

An emotionally intelligent CMO knows that for marketing to be effective, it must be intentional. It must be determined ahead of any engagement what the desired outcome is; marketing is then a means to that end. One of the elements of emotional intelligence is achievement orientation and it means amongst other things that you outline and follow holistically the steps that drive peak performance. CMOs must grasp the what, the why and the how of their marketing campaigns so they can better communicate their ideas to other team members and excellently execute their briefs. Legendary pugilist, Mohammed Ali puts it this way, “your hands can’t hit what your eyes can’t see.” – If CMOs can’t see the endgame, they will be ineffective at their use of marketing to hit the right goal.

That endgame can specifically mean to increase sales, drive traffic to website, retain customers, build brand awareness and engagement, establish thought leadership, generating leads etc. Hence a tailor-made marketing plan will be developed in line with that particular objective. Disneyland’s tagline is “The happiest place on Earth.” Their marketing is built around the narrative that until you have had an experience at one of their parks, you are yet to reach the peak of happiness. This is what drives the craze for summer travels; for most parents, a visit to a Disney park is a staple in their travel plans.

Use of Social Listening

Social listening is different from the usual feedback because it doesn’t just speak to what stakeholders want but specifically about what they are saying about your brand. CMOs can take advantage of this to control the narrative because if this spins out of control, it can negatively affect the bottom-line. Most marketing campaigns are usually used to demystify certain untruths, myths and misconceptions about brands. By aggregating the data from engaging the relevant stakeholders, a CMO with a high level of social awareness can deduce what the market is yearning for, what direction the organization should invest in and what offerings meet those gaps. Employees are also a great source of germane ideas, especially from those are the lower cadres because they are closer to the final customers.

A classic example of social listening is Instagram. Since the pandemic started, Tik Tok has grown exponentially – it is in fact, the 1most downloaded app of 2020. This saw a mass exodus from other social media platform to Tik Tok owing to is user-friendly features. Instagram, perceiving the threat to its base and also in response to their staunch users, created reels – which is design to give a similitude of the offerings on Tik Tok. Reels may not have achieved the desired level of competitiveness as Tik Tok but it gets all the credits for accepting feedback.

Deliver Personalized Communication

Maya Angelo submitted that, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel.” CMOs must realize that one of the most important needs of human beings is to feel important and a marketing strategy to achieve this is to talk to stakeholders as though each person was the only one in the room. Mass marketing may appear the easy way out and cost-effective but it is ultimately a blunt approach. In really large markets where there are swaths of different demographics, it might be impossible to directly execute personalized communication but the messaging can be framed in retail terms as opposed to wholesale.

Also, there should be market segmentation as much as is possible – the nuances of the different divides should be considered. For example, alcohol brands like Guinness Extra Stout, Trophy Larger and Goldberg all have marketing materials in the three leading indigenous languages: Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo. They also deployed influencer marketing by working with cultural ambassadors from those regions. People don’t want to feel as though they are dots in your marketing circle or statistics in your business models, they want to see that you put in the effort to recognize who and where they are.

Social-Proof Marketing

This simply means that CMOs are aware that they would be cynics and risk-averse prospects. People don’t want to be used as guinea pigs or lab rats, they want so first see that others have positive things to say or a wonderful experience before they patronize and product or service. The emotional intelligence element of influence can be deployed to great lengths in driving peak performance. One of the ways this is done is by using user-generated content, where the person or people who has experienced a product or service signs up to give a praise report or testimonial about their engagement with it.

DSTV deployed this strategy in marketing their decoder-support services by using one of their top accredited customer care and service agents as the centre of a marketing campaign. He is shown in the house of an actual customer, fixing her decoder and also sharing his journey as an ambassador of the brand. 


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