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Increase Sales By Tapping Into Customer Emotions

iStock-542821252_webIt used to be said “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.”

IBM wasn’t really selling business machines, although those were its products; it was selling security. IBM was then considered “the best”, and purchasers felt nobody lost their job for buying the best.

  • Geico isn’t selling insurance, it’s selling piece of mind
  • Mercedes isn’t just selling cars; in addition to other benefits of driving a Mercedes it’s selling self-worth and prestige

Mercedes current campaign, “The best or nothing,” plays into these emotions.

To help increase the sales of SUVs among females, an automaker once ran a commercial showing a woman at home alone with just her child. It was dark and rainy but she had to drive to the hospital, bad weather or not, when her child suddenly became ill.

The commercial showed a video of the SUV in her driveway in the rain, and the voiceover asked, “What would you like to have in your driveway tonight?”

The commercial was actually selling safety and security.

How many cell phone ads have you seen promising to connect users. They are appealing to the emotion of “belonging”.

Psychology is defined as “the science of mind and behavior,” and few things are more important in marketing than motivating customer behavior.

Understanding the psychology of buyer groups allows us to understand and tap into their emotions. In fact, a wide variety of research shows that emotions play a more important role in a purchase decision, business-to-consumer or (as with the IBM buyer above) business-to-business.

American Opinion Research (AOR), a division of Integrated Marketing Services, once conducted research for a company targeting healthcare professionals and institutions to increase sales of its medical device. In a research study of doctors and buyers, AOR asked, “What brand of (the specific type of equipment) would you want if a friend or relative were on the operating table?” and why.

The results provided vital insight into customers’ emotional hot buttons, and formed the positioning for a very successful marketing campaign.

Integrated Marketing Services has coined the term “emotional engagement,” to describe this marketing approach, which also usually results in more satisfied, loyal customers.

Emotional engagement is important regardless of the marketing channels you use and whether your company is selling business-to-consumer or business-to-business. Your consumers and potential customers all have emotions.

Here, based on our experience, are some ways to build emotional engagement:

  • Start with market research; most successful campaigns do

Sure, you can learn something by simply talking with customers, but the vast majority have a difficult time expressing their feelings, and almost never articulate how these feeling turn into emotions.

Traditional focus groups are also ineffective; placed in a room with other people participants often lean toward conformity.

Today’s, more sophisticated market research techniques go well beyond measuring customer wants and needs, using more advanced psychographic analysis to pinpoint emotional messages that will motivate buying decisions. We can then segment audiences into mutually exclusive groups, each of which respond to different messages whether they are user groups, procurement officers, C-suite executives or others.

This type of research can also identify potential new products and services.

  • Focus on the results of using your products or services, and not the products themselves. There’s nothing emotional about most products
  • Despite what many marketers believe, it’s ok to be negative

Negatives prompt such emotions as fear, anxiety and insecurity. Providing a positive alternative or solution to a negative can change these emotions to peace of mind, confidence, security – all buying motivators and differentiators for your products and services.

Remember the Federal Express commercial showing an employee being reprimanded by his boss because an important package wasn’t delivered on time. The commercial then showed the FedEx logo with the voiceover, “When it absolutely, positively has to get there overnight.”

That’s security!

The message also differentiated FedEx from competitors.

  • The right images can help convey your message

But, be very selective. Avoid the common mistake of choosing a visual because it’s pretty; make sure it advances your message.

  • It’s particularly important to incorporate an emotional appeal in digital marketing, which tends to be more impersonal

Videos with an emotional connection are shared more often than those that don’t, but they need to be short and to the point. Online testimonials focusing on the impact of a product can spark an emotional response, including belonging, surprise, and others.

Based on Integrated Marketing Services’ experience, a few of the emotions which have proven to affect business buying decisions include, confidence, self-respect, fear, security and insecurity, envy, compassion, hope, disapproval, optimism, annoyance, anger, aggressiveness, optimism, trust, apprehension, and others.

The trick is to determine which of these emotions, or one of many others, motivates your target buyers.

Contact Anthony Casale at 609-683-9055 ext. 202 or email [email protected]

Anthony Casale
CEO, Integrated Marketing Services