The following piece was written in response to the article, “Passion Marketing,” as it appeared on MarketingProfs.com. It originally ran in the “Personalization Newswire,” volume 3, number 7. I only reprint it here as context for my next article, “Passion, Part 2,” wherein I will address the aftermath of this piece, and what it means for marketing.
I excitedly clicked on the link. Hot damn! Finally, someone writing about a marketing subject that doesn’t immediately send me into fits of narcolepsy; my DSL (digital subscriber line) connection loads the page, “Passion Marketing.” I await, breathless. And then I begin reading.
Imagine my disappointment.
Passion! I’m searching the document. Frantically viewing source code. Ripping the etymology of words apart. Anything for some passion. Oh wait — here are some principles — good, I love bullet points. Cause, results, money, and time — nope, no passion there. Soul! Aha! The soul of passion marketing is… “the emotional sell”?
Deep breath. Count to 10.
“Passion” comes to us from Middle English via Old French from the Medieval Latin root “passio.” The word is related to the physical sufferings of Jesus during the crucifixion. You know, the gruesome scene wherein nails have been pounded through his palms — which doesn’t kill you. No, it’s the slow suffocation that occurs as your body weight collapses your lungs; that’s what kills you. The suffering of the martyr — that kind of pain is the root of passion.
Or maybe a different kind of passion. Picture your father’s Honda Accord: You’re in the back seat, half drunk off of cheap beer, desperately trying to slide the jeans off of this girl who you can’t believe let you give her a ride home. Sound familiar? Yeah, high school — that was passion, too.
What’s my point here?
Passion, and even more importantly, passion marketing, should actually have some passion, some kind of rush, some of kind of emotional push. The last thing that marketing with passion is concerned with is “the emotional sell.” Passion doesn’t sell. Passion isn’t planned. Passion certainly isn’t trademarked.
To truly learn about passion, look to the margins of our fragile social structure. Therein lies passion. Check this out:
I sit back with this pack of Zig Zags and this bag
of this weed it gives me the sh** needed to be
the most meanest MC on this — on this Earth
And since birth I been cursed with this curse to just
And just blurt this berserk and bizarre sh** that works
And it sells and it helps in itself to relieve
all this tension dispensin these sentences
Gettin this stress that’s been eating me recently off of
and I rest again peacefully (peacefully)…
So you spent a huge wad on Web banners. So what? Let’s hope you saved a buck-twenty-five for a cup of coffee, because maybe that’s all it’s really worth. You’ve got your site up and hummin’ loaded with the latest shockem-sockem javajazz — but no one gives a damn. What’s up with that?
Your brand should be bringing those golden eyeballs winging in, you say? Are you familiar with the expression “LOL”? Look, wise up. Most of the people online are like 12 years old. They never heard of your frickin’ brand. OK, so some are actually over 20, but still, who cares about you and your slick brochureware site? And why should they?
Arrogance takes many forms online, the foremost of which is assuming you already know it all. Large companies are especially susceptible to thinking that because they’re big, because they’ve got revenues in 99 figures, they’re bound to win at anything they try. Guess again.
Here’s a question for ya. Would you open a car dealership without ever having driven an automobile? Weird concept, you may think. You might find it ever weirder though — I sure did — to discover how many so-called “Internet Executives” have never spent any time on the Web. And sorry, Charlie, but protesting, “My secretary takes care of that” is just not an acceptable response.
That last bit is important. I know you’ve all experienced passion in your lives. If you’d like to bring it into a marketing initiative, its simple — forget about being a “professional” (no one really cares) and speak from the heart.
OK, my passion has subsided.
Note: the examples used above are from Eminem’s “The Way I Am” and Rageboy’s “Scream III,” respectively.