• Sam Decker

Marketing Emotion Still a Far Cry from the Dude Ranch

Last week my family and I spent a three day mini-vacation at a “Dude” ranch. Don’t think City Slickers. My kids are 6 and 9, so this was more “dude” than ranch.

We bought the kids cowboy hats so they felt authentic on the back of our senior citizen horses walking along a muddy trail. They met kids from other states, playing with cap guns and bullwhips. My 6 year old son hooked up with adults as my wife pulled me into line dancing. Surrounded by drinking strangers, to whom I trusted my son’s well being, my 6-year old son played pool for the first time. As my wife dragged me into line dancing, Kyle teamed up with a ringer and proudly won the game. That night we crawled in bed at our cabin and watched home movies as thunderstorms passed by.

I know it was a good vacation because as we drove down the rocky road to the ranch exit both kids teared up and said “I don’t want to leave!”. We passed the stable on the way out, where my daughter saw the mangy white horse she rode. As welling up flowed over to crocodile tears she struggled to whimper his name, “Soda Pop!…”


Am I celebrating this sadness? You bet! Mission accomplished.

To me, the best vacation is about a unique experience for my kids and family. A great vacation creates emotions that cement memory and are bind relationships. And if it wasn’t a great experience, then they wouldn’t be missing it when we leave. No emotion, no memory, no meaningful experience…no crying. So the crying was great!

Granted, this is a vacation, which lends itself to a memorable experience. But it got me thinking…an experience like this elicits a level of emotion that is a far cry (no pun intended) from a typical company-to-customer experience. Yet, it is this level of connection every company aspires to create because emotion drives purchase, loyalty, and word of mouth.

That begs the question: In today’s consumer-cynical world, how can you create emotion? It’s a question worth exploring…in your marketing, how do you create relationships, connections and emotion with customers? More to come. Comments welcome.