When I speak to clients, prospects, and groups I encourage them to get personal and tap into a prospect’s emotions. I always see backs stiffen when I say this. Is it because when you use the word ‘emotion’ it evokes images of tears, gasps, and drama?
Well I hope not but I guess that is what is happening. There is a misconception that business is supposed to be only serious stuff and yet the businesses that are successful have one thing in common – they struck an emotional cord – and won the hearts and bank accounts of their target audience. There is another common theme that emerges – humor.
When putting marketing campaigns together, the details often sway to features and benefits. It is a good idea to be clear about these factors, but they are not the coveted buying trigger. At least not without the emotional tug to act. I recently heard Simon Sinek explain “people act on their emotions first and justify it later.” I try to always remember to ask when I am given the list of features and benefits – at least ask politely – ‘so what?’ If you can’t answer that simple question, the feature or benefit is meaningless to the buyer – but if you can answer it and relate it to the emotion that it stimulates – ahhh, you might have a homerun.
So what emotions do you need to trigger? A common one is fear. A lot of companies offer products and services that protect or support, and hope to motivate the buyer through a marketing tactic that reminds them of what they stand to lose. The risk with negative marketing is associating a bad feeling with your product or service.
There is an example of a brilliant campaign with the series of television commercials for Allstate Insurance with an aptly named character Chaos played by Dean Winters. If you haven’t seen them, the scenes always depict a disaster such as a car hitting another car or a tree limb falling on a car and Dean Winters appears disheveled with an ominous message delivered with humor. These are hysterical and I can’t wait for the next one. If you haven’t seen them, check them out on YouTube.
The point – if you are going to target the fear emotion, it would be a good idea to be a beaming ray of sunshine at the end of the dark tunnel or better yet, the humor in the pain. Let’s face it, humor is the best way to survive crisis and I should know – I’ve been in and created many in my lifetime.
Another popular emotion with marketers is what I refer to as the ‘wannabe’ emotion. I wannabe loved, I wannabe popular, I don’t wannabe the bad odor babe, and so on. Again, a popular ad campaign that went viral and probably will go down in marketing history is the Old Spice commercial series with actor Isaiah Mustafa. This was a brilliant campaign that took a product that had been thought of as Grandpop’s scent of choice and made it young, hip and popular again. They used social media as it was meant to be with real engagement that went viral and received the over-the-top rankings and reports of sales, sales, sales. So once again, humor played a roll in the success of this campaign.
Emotions have been studied and researched to oblivion and the most familiar is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. That is what the image pyramid shown in this post represents. At the bottom of the pyramid are the basic needs and as you rise higher and higher in the emotional evolution you get to the truly enlightened phase of self-actualization. We strive to be toward the top of the pyramid, but marketers tend to play to the more base needs in the lower rungs of the pyramid.
As you begin to think about a marketing strategy and campaign for the New Year, pull out this chart and see what your products and services address emotionally and then play with the creative ways to stimulate that emotion. Then follow my philosophy – marketing should be fun!
Mardy Sitzer is a certified inbound marketing professional and president of Bumblebee Design & Marketing. Since 1993, Mardy has been delivering creative and innovative marketing solutions. An avid reader of all things internet and marketing, she also writes blogs, articles, and web content for industry magazines as well as for Bumblebee’s clients. She is an adjunct professor at Fordham University and instructor at Rutgers University teaching social media for business. Follow her on Twitter or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.