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Why are you in business?

I have a standard set of questions I want to know about every new client I meet.

"What do you do?"

I want to know, in a client's own words, what they feel like they've completed at the end of each day or how they define their own work.

"How do you do it?"

As business owners, we can talk about the process of our organizations at length--most of us might even enjoy it.

"What would you do differently if you had a magic budget wand?"

Most people can answer these questions about their own business. They are the basis of everyday operations.

But then there is the toughest question. "Why do you do it?"

It's easy to forget why you started when you're stuck inside the day-to-day operations.

The belief in our mission--the why--is the very heart of an effective marketing strategy We always tell clients that it is human nature to make decisions emotionally and then back-fill with logic.

In the human brain, the prefrontal cortex is the logic building, language deciphering outer layer that makes us human. It's the part of our brain that separates us from animals by attempting to provide logical justifications for our feelings. If you've been on Facebook recently, you're very familiar with people using their prefrontal cortex to justify their inner limbic brain.

The limbic brain is what we're talking about when we say "I'm going to trust my gut on this one," or "That just doesn't feel right.," or "I'm just not feeling Mexican food today"

We, as humans say "I'm hungry" and then talk about the merits of the food options in front of us. We talk about the last time we ate as a way to justify the feeling of hunger. Raccoons feel hunger and then they eat the next thing they see. Raccoons don't care when they last ate because they're hungry now They don't have highly developed prefrontal cortexes.

Effective marketing is affective marketing --marketing that speaks to the inner brain, the feeling brain. It affects us.

Even better marketing is marketing that speaks to the feeling brain and then provides the logical brain with enough information to justify its feelings.

In Simon Sinek's book, "Start With Why" he argues that people will not show up for you; they show up for themselves. Decisions based on what a person believes are quite powerful.

It's easy to miss the mark when attempting to connect with an audience based on a product by itself--a product without a purpose or belief

When we tell people what we believe--the reason we wake up every morning and develop these products for the world--they have a reason to feel.

We so often begin with what we have or do and how we make that product or perform that service.

A fascination with process is great for running an organization, but can often muddy the waters of marketing.

Sinek points to Apple, and while it is an overused example, it is a great example from a marketing perspective. Apple almost never sells anyone a product. They don't begin commercials with close-ups of computers and product descriptions. Apple tells the consumer that they are a company interested in doing things differently, doing things better and in a way that makes our fives easier.

Apple tells consumers to ask, "Why can't this look better? Why can't this be easier?"

The consumer agrees. "Why do computers have to be so clunky and complicated?" and then no longer thinks of Apple as a computer company, but as an ideal. They no longer see Apple products as commodities, but the byproducts of a belief--the platform by which an ideal is upheld.

When you're trying to sell your product, try to remember why you arrived at that product in the first place. Try to remember your original "why?"--the very thing that compelled you to do what you do and the way you do it.

Remember the essential emotion that drove you to be who you are where you are. That emotion--that very why--is the same emotion that will help you connect with your next partner, customer or employee.

Start with the gut feeling and let everyone else back fill with their own logic.

Start with your why

What's your why?

Josh Mabus is president and CEO of The Mabus Agency
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Title Annotation:INSIDE BUSINESS
Author:Mabus, Josh
Publication:Mississippi Business Journal
Geographic Code:1U6MS
Date:Dec 18, 2015
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