Once More, With Feeling



“Talent is bein’ able to sell what you’re feeling.”

Not surprisingly, the most successful blog posts on Outspoken are the ones where you connect with me emotionally. They’re the posts written in the heat of the moment, before I’ve had time to self-edit and tame them back. They are the five minute posts where I publish first, apologize later. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the Most Viewed Posts on the right. Or look at your own blog; you’ll likely notice the same thing.

I’m not like my two partners. Rae and Rhea live and die by the technical SEO and strategy of it all. I live and die by my heart, which I wear prominently on my sleeve. And sometimes I’m able to take you guys along for the ride. Elvis Presley said that talent is bein’ able to sell what you’re feeling.

It’s also the key to marketing.

Regardless of what you’re selling, your POD is the feeling you pass off to customers. It’s why I bought an overpriced pendant. It’s why people buy Apples – not for the system, but to feel superior to everyone else. People don’t really care about you. They care about how you make them feel. Marketing is no different than any other type of relationship. Your brand rests on your ability to transfer what you’re feeling over to your customer. It’s the aftertaste you leave.

That taste is your brand.

Marketing is historically cold. That means when companies are able to make us feel something, anything, we’re drawn to it. Whether it’s Burger King letting us “have it [our] way”, Staples telling us “that was easy” or Hallmark daring us to “send the very best”, we practically trip over ourselves to get close to it. To be associated with it. Oh, and “just do it”? That’s not a slogan – it’s a feeling. It’s the rush that passes through an athlete’s mind when they’re staring at the wrong end of a monstrous hill. It’s what gets them up that hill.

If you want people to care about you, your mission is to make them feel something.

  • Make them feel safe.
  • Wealthy.
  • Daring.
  • Green-conscious.
  • Smart.
  • Sexy.
  • Challenged.
  • Beautiful.
  • Nerdy.
  • Wanted.
  • Accomplished.
  • Adventurous.

That’s what this marketing thing is about – breaking through the shell people instinctively put up, shaking them, and making them feel how they’ve secretly been craving. That’s why social media and blogs and networking are effective. Because they’re about leaving the MBA speak at home and focusing on making your customers feel good/heard/right. It’s why teenagers join gangs.

We waste far too much time in business creating BS sales pitches designed to describe pointless features or list out made up reasons why we’re better than our competition. Truthfully, you probably aren’t that much better. But it doesn’t matter.

Next week, try it once more, with feeling. Because if you can sell that feeling, the rest of it is just details. People are going to be tripping over themselves to get to you. They’ll stand in line overnight to purchase a stupid phone. They’ll form a new religion around your name. They’ll stampede your store during Christmas, killing innocent patrons. They will 100 percent lose their shit in order to get close to you and feel something.

If you can incite that? That’s talent. It’s marketing.

Your Comments

  • Daniel

    This is one of my favorite posts you have written, and I’ve read a lot of Lisa Barone. You are absolutely right that good marketing makes people feel something. The beauty of social media marketing is that it let’s us create a community around this feeling and marketing message. The potential to market a feeling and build up an engaged customer base around it has never been better. Do you agree?


  • Tim

    If we all applied Once More, With Feeling in EVERYTHING we did, beyond marketing ourselves or our wares – we’d all be better because of it. Truly we would.

  • Lisa Barone

    Daniel: Thanks. I appreciate that. :) And agreed, I think the ability to engage your customers and make them feel something (anything) is indeed larger today than it ever has been. The more personal the tool, the easier it is to shake people.

    Tim: Amen, brother. :)

  • Josh

    Great post and Great reminder. In college I worked at a ski/snowboard shop and the owner always said “We are not selling Skis we are selling fun” he truly loves skiing and exudes that feeling as a result he is the most successful salesmen I have ever met. The same can hold true in any field.

  • Richard Barratt

    To quote: “We waste far too much time in business creating BS sales pitches designed to describe pointless features…”

    You’ve hit the nail right on its head with that one!

    Besides, I think almost everyone is now aware of when they’re being pitched to by a robotic ‘canned’ sales guy.

    The old techniques such as the ‘yes roll’, ‘alternative close’, ‘7 steps’, etc are quite frankly a load of crap in my opinion. The very best sales people I know ignore these techniques and speak from the heart about their love for their product and their joy of how it can help their customer. It’s this approach that sees of competition and forms long-lasting relationships.

    Great post!

  • George Angus

    I think the most successful sales folks don’t sell the product or service – they sell their love for it.

    Potential customers can sense that love and they will respond to it.


  • Jamie Lee Wallace

    Love this post and couldn’t agree more with Tim’s comment above – this is a concept that should be applied to much more than marketing … it should be applied to LIFE.

    I think we all get so caught up in “looking smart” that we bury all the feeling (because, after all, there’s no data to back that up, right?) beneath loads of marketingese BS. I mean, how many marketing campaigns can you name that took a product or service that once HAD passion, and sucked the life right out of it by trying to cram it into some forumlaic, sales-driven method of marketing? Ouch.

    In the end, we are human – with all our insecurities, inspirations, and aspirations. I sometimes find “marketing” to be dirty work – seems full of manipulation and trickery – BUT, when I think more along the lines of sharing a passion with someone who WANTS to share that passion; I can not only sleep better at night, I produce my best work.

    Thanks for the great post. So glad I found your blog. :)

  • Kathy Hokunson

    Lisa –
    Another great post and you really hit the heart of “brand”, the emotional connection.

  • Kandi Humpf

    Absolutely awesome post Lisa! I always say that I’m not a salesperson. I’m no good at “sales speak” and, I hate every moment of it. Once I get past the “here’s your proposal” part and get into the details and steps – it’s like everything in me gets excited about the opportunities for that client. And that excitement comes out in my voice, mannerisms and ideas. Thank you for letting me know that there are others out there like me – now I don’t feel so alone!

  • Lisa Barone

    Josh: It’s so true. As a business owner, you’re selling way more than just your product. You’re selling the feeling and emotion behind it. That’s how you reach people.

    Richard: Does anyone listen when they can tell someone is just reciting the 10-line pitch they memorized a week before? I know, I don’t. I may stand there politely and wait for him/her to finish before walking away, but that’s all they’ve inspired me to do. If you need a 3 minute scripted monologue to explain the benefits of a product, it clearly has none.

    George and Kandi: Completely agree! Thanks for the comments. :)

  • Alex Lim

    This is an excellent post. I think the very core of marketing is making unobvious connection through establishing feelings with the customers. I guess that is somewhat the purpose of using celebrities as endorsers. If you want to feel like you’re Britney then use her branded perfume, clothes and shoes. It’s great to be aware with this basic principle of marketing. Thanks for sharing Lisa.

  • TP

    So you think Apple is successful because it has persuaded people that buying an Apple product makes them better than other people? That it shows they have taste and sophistication? Perhaps now, to later adopters. Maybe.

    But you want to know why the iPhone was so successful? This: It looked like something from the future. Its interface was fluid and obvious, and connected immediately with all the hard-wiring in your brain about how physical objects should respond. I touch it and it moves. I swipe and it goes away.

    This is the real emotional connection of the product. The other stuff you talk about is, at best, secondary. A distraction to the main idea.