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Run Your Business With Your Head or Your Heart? Why Not Both?

10 Jun, 2010 By: Thomas Haire Response

“Lights go down it’s dark / The jungle is your head / Can’t rule your heart / A feeling so much / Stronger than a thought / Your eyes are wide / And though your soul / It can’t be bought / Your mind can wander”

— U2, “Vertigo”

The battle between heart and head can be a brutal tussle sometimes. And, at others, it’s clear which usually wins — something well put above by my favorite band.

It was also something that was touched on during the keynote address given by Sir Bob Geldof at last month’s Response Expo. Geldof’s early life was full of internal conflict, which helped him make a name for himself as a rock star. He spoke of the concoction of a self — or an image of self — that would reach out and grab ahold of the public consciousness to allow him and his band to become a “success.” Essentially, he spoke about marketing from the head.

But when Geldof — incidentally, a close friend of U2’s Bono — really made a name for himself around the globe, it was his heart doing most of the talking. He refused to take no for an answer in the fight against starvation, poverty and disease in Africa. And, yes, while certain logistics of his quarter century-long fight must come from purely logical thought, the passion behind it all comes from the heart — the idea of simply doing what’s right for his fellow man.

Geldof’s talk, seen by a standing-room crowd of more than 600, was expectedly inspirational and irreverent. What many of the attendees did not expect, however, was how industry-directed it was. Geldof clearly gets marketing — and even more specifically, he understands what he’s done is truly dependent on various aspects of direct response marketing.

The feeling in the room that Tuesday night clearly carried over to the remainder of the event. “What can I do to be better?” “What can I do to make our business better?” “What can I do to make the industry better?” These were questions that became part of the atmosphere at Response Expo, from the educational sessions to other events. And that was thanks to Geldof’s “from-the-heart” approach.

Of course, there is no other kind of marketing so reliant on pure and immediate results as DR. That’s the head winning the tussle. And it’s what has made DR marketing such an important factor in the ever-widening media landscape.

But that doesn’t mean there’s not room for the heart here, as well. I’m not just talking about the kind of caring heart Geldof works from, which can provide a crucial balance, but also the playful and joyful heart. After all, if the spots for the uber-successful Snuggie and ShamWow don’t make you laugh, I’m not sure what would. After all, a feeling is truly so much stronger than a thought — and the amusement viewers have found in these spots most assuredly has weighed in on each product’s success.

As Geldof’s talk resonated throughout the next 48 hours in San Diego, so must the idea that the heart and the head can share space in the success of each of our businesses.

About the Author: Thomas Haire

Thomas Haire

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