What Our Emotions Teach Us About Marketing

If you were to survey your current or past customers about why they decided to purchase from your company, what do you think they would say?

If you’re like most business owners you would probably point out your competitive pricing, quality of your product or service, or some other differentiator from your competition. But according to the research of Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman, you would most likely be wrong.  The answer to this question is directly related to the subconscious mind of your customer. In his book, “How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market,” Zaltman reveals many exciting ideas that can be helpful to marketers and brands.

Contrary to what you may believe, consumers aren’t as savvy as you might imagine or want to believe.

Contrary to what you may believe…

Consumers aren’t as savvy as you might imagine or want to believe. For example, while many consumers report comparing multiple competing brands and price points when making a purchase decision, Zaltman’s research indicates that this is not actually the case.  By studying consumer’s unconscious physical responses, Zaltman discovered that often what consumers really think or feel disputes what they say.

So why aren’t consumers honest about their thoughts and feelings before deciding to make a purchase?
• A major reason is that they are motivated by unconscious desires, the biggest of which is emotion.
• Emotion is what really drives the behaviour’s of consumers before a purchase, and when making decisions in general for that matter.

Think about the marketing you’ve seen in your everyday life. Do you really need those designer jeans? Are they really any “better” than the cheaper jeans you can get at another department store? My guess is probably not, luxury goods home in on our feelings of self-worth, approval from others, and status – Our emotions. 

NOT how long the jeans will last or if they are made of better materials (although this may be important to consumers who want to FEEL like they are getting a better value). A lot of what is driving your potential clients is subconscious behavior. But we shouldn’t think of this as a bad thing. There’s nothing Machiavellian about helping your clients achieve desired states of emotion.

The real question is are you leveraging the power of emotion in your marketing?

After all your business and its products and services were created to fulfill a customer’s desire or want, and those desires always have an emotional component. Now you may be thinking this doesn’t apply to your business. You might be saying, I own a pest control company, or I paint houses, what does this have to do with my customers emotions? Well, ask yourself – what does is FEEL like to live with bugs in your house? How does it FEEL to your customers to come home to the “ugly” house in the neighborhood? You can quickly see those perceptions, emotions and your product or service offerings are deeply entwined and are very relevant (both consciously and subconsciously) to most customers when making a purchase decision.

The key to leveraging Zaltman’s findings in your own marketing efforts is to always remember to consider what your prospective customers might FEEL about your product or service – or to put it another way, how do they FEEL about their current situation (an ugly house, bugs in their basement, etc..) and how your product or service will help bridge that negative feeling into a positive one. If you need assistance in bridging that gap, we’d be happy to help.