Connection vs. Intimacy

They say we live in a connection economy. What it really mean is that we're all connected to devices. So yes, we communicate more than we've ever used to, but if thumb-tapping makes us feel good, we've got it all wrong.

Imagine writing a letter; a highly personal act that takes an effort where the final piece is a demonstration of 'owning' what you wrote - there's no cheap cop out like JK ("just kidding"). You wrote it, and you own it. But, no one writes anymore; instead, we thumb-tap or speak to our devices so being connected is a myth - a byproduct of something we just do that also lacks intimacy - words on a screen that may make us smile or ponder but then we scroll and keep searching.

Marketing isn't easier because we're all connected. We've come to believe in the illusion that sending massive amounts of emails, or non-stop posting of social media content, actually yield results.

Connection vs. Intimacy. The former is just a mechanical act; the latter demands hard work, commitment and taking ownership, the kind that is required when you write a personal note. Intimacy is about forming and nurturing a connection.

Here's the thing: Marketing amateurs will have you believe that anything can be automated; content generation followed by scheduled blasts and voila, you've connected to a whole lot of potential customers. Not so fast. Don't get suckered into the 'analytics' world where big numbers rule and quality is absent - wouldn't you rather have 100 impressions resulting in 10 qualified leads or 150,000 impressions with 10% 'engagement' and no intimacy?

Open rates mean nothing, clicks mean nothing; the only thing that matters is a long-term engagement, the kind that is created by intimacy because it strikes an emotional cord with your 'audience.' To get that level of intimacy requires active conversations with your customers; dialogue, two-way communication, leads to intimacy because it encourages listening and leads to gaining trust.

The greatest works of marketing art take place when content is what clients told us we missed- customers, not marketing gurus, drive topics we should discuss and share.

To get from connection to intimacy requires serious soul-searching: What business are you really in? Who are your customers? What are their unfulfilled needs and how do you find out? Which competitor is stealing your customers?

I'm always reminded of one of the greatest taglines in marketing history, and the only way to achieve long-lasting success in business:

"They make money the old fashioned way. They earn it."