YspeopleExplore tab

Marketers: embrace the emotions

About DJC

The older I get, the less I know and the more inquisitive I get.

Unfortunately, despite a lifelong search, most of the answers elude me. That said, I love to ask the questions and fuel the debates that will ultimately lead us all to a better understanding of the big issues in life, the universe and everything.

They say that we spend 98% of our lives in our head. I for one would like to use that time as effectively as possible.

So many business people and, indeed, so many marketers I talk to, develop strategy without understanding the basics.

Many do not understand the basics of strategy and many more do not understand the basics relating to the people they are trying to influence. Herein lies an opportunity.

When consumers say they need something, more often than not they do not need it at all. They just want it. The woman who needs a new dress before a ball, generally has other outfits she could wear. The child that needs a soft drink would have his or her need well satisfied with water. The man who needs a new car, is generally more concerned about his image and gadgets he wants to play with.

Most purchases are driven by want and want is all about emotion. It may be emotion that is in the process of being rationalised, but it is emotion nonetheless. As such, there is real merit in understanding human and, in particular, consumer emotions.

Research highlights three levels of purchasing:

  • Reactive – fast thinking – driven by the reptilian brain
  • Emotional – driven by the Limbic system
  • Cognitive – slow thinking – driven by the neocortex
  • Emanating from the Limbic system, the second-most primitive part of the human brain, emotions drive most purchase decisions. Human beings experience thousands of emotions. Universal emotions include happiness, sadness, fear, disgust, anger and surprise. Primal emotions include seeking, rage, fear, lust, care, panic and play. All of these emotions impact on behaviour.

    All of these emotions create feelings, states and/or identities, and these conditions underlie each and every purchase decision. People buy products on the basis of feelings, states and/or identities. Further to this, the cognitive component in many purchases is not only secondary – it very often occurs after the purchase process is complete. Post-purchase rationalisation is very common indeed.

    This highlights the importance of having an emotional hook in order to maximise sales.

    Emotions are highly complex. They are influenced by cognitive, physiological and behavioural factors and, in turn, they impact on humans cognitively, physiologically and behaviourally. All four factors are intrinsically linked and vicious cycles are common.

    The power of emotion is clear from:

  • Psychosomatic – or more correctly, psychophysiological conditions
  • The placebo effect
  • The impact attitude can have on both physical and emotional health
  • One of the most important emotions, particularly to marketing, is fear. Research has repeatedly found that fear of loss impacts on behaviour twice as much as desire for gain. Indeed, fear of loss is one of the most powerful drivers of consumer behaviour – although, that said – incredible claims of scarcity are becoming less likely to drive purchase and more likely to cause brand damage.

    Recognise the importance of human emotions in the purchase process. Understand that most purchases are driven by emotions and rationalised after purchase. Be clear on which emotions you are addressing.

    Banner 1
    | Your rating
    1 members rated this article

    Related stories

    Do you have a canny tip for saving money.

    Share your money-saving hacks here

    Everyone loves to save a dollar or two when they can. Do you have any money-saving tips to share with your YsFriends?

    8 months ago
    (Money & Business)
    Because you're never too old to pursue your passion.

    Your midlife career-switch advice is golden

    Have you started a new business or pulled off a major career switch in midlife? We'd love to hear from you.

    Money Ageing
    8 months ago
    (Money & Business)
    Rejuvenate in Retirement.

    6 ways to retire from work, not life


    Are you ready for The Lifestyle Change? Retirement can be a more difficult adjustment than we realise.

    Money Retirement Relationships Ageing Health
    8 months ago
    (Money & Business)
    James Packer: born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

    Bring back death duties for silver spooners

    Why should the privileged offspring of Australia's elite inherit their billions tax-free? Let's level the playing field.

    Money Business Ageing
    9 months ago
    (Money & Business)
    Retirees have copped a rough time in recent years.

    A new approach to retirement planning

    Iā€™m going to stick my neck out just a bit and say retirees have had a raw deal over the past couple of decades.

    Money Retirement Ageing
    9 months ago
    (Money & Business)
    Funeral directors prey on the vulnerable.

    Funeral directors are blood-sucking leeches

    Leveraging grief to up-sell expensive funerals to vulnerable families is a loathsome practise and must stop.

    Money Business Family Community
    9 months ago
    (Money & Business)
    Trickle-down economics my arse.

    How big business is giving you the shaft

    Are you battling to make ends meet thanks to stagnant wages and lack of jobs? Here's who's to blame.

    Money Business Community Social Issues Politics
    9 months ago
    (Money & Business)
    What impact will the eventual death of Queen Elizabeth have on us in Australia?.

    What happens to us when the Queen dies?


    As a part of the Commonwealth, the impact on Australia will be greater than you think.

    Community Social Issues Politics Australia UK
    9 months ago
    (Money & Business)
    Myer - no Harrods.

    Good riddance to Myer's CEO!

    And there are plenty more who should follow him. Don't these obscene executive salaries make you furious?

    Money Business
    9 months ago
    (Money & Business)
    New CBA CEO Matt Comyn.

    Why 'banker' should start with a W

    It's our fault that the big banks treat us with such contempt and arrogance. Time to hit back by taking our mortgages and...

    Money Business Community
    9 months ago
    (Money & Business)

    Message board

    Derek, 4 months ago:
    I am great
    George, 4 months ago:
    What's up Thomas?
    George, 4 months ago:
    Messages are now updated in real time on other browsers.
    Thomas, 4 months ago:
    Thomas, 5 months ago:
    DJC, 5 months ago:
    George, 5 months ago:
    Message board active from June 2018

    Have your say!

    Your Great Australians

    Trending stories
    When it comes to great bloggers you can connect with, this list has you covered.

    20 mature bloggers worth following

    Looking for Australian...

    (Entertainment & Culture) Over 1 year ago
    Blue Moraine Lake in Banff, Canada.

    Some stunning Earth porn to brighten your day

    A reminder of how...

    (Travel) 10 months ago
    This one isn't for the faint-hearted (image uploaded to Reddit by u/JLD58).

    Stunning travel photos from around the world

    This best-of-the-web travel...

    (Travel) 8 months ago
    View From Mt.

    Tasmania turns it on for these grey nomads

    Dave and Ellen Smith get...

    (Travel) 8 months ago
    Child-sex abuse advocate Anthony Foster will be buried in a state funeral.

    Vale Anthony Foster

    Child-sex abuse victim...

    (Headlines) Over 1 year ago
    Weekly Poll
    Photographic memories
    It's 35 years since the Ash Wednesday bushfires in South Australia and Victoria claimed 75 lives and more than 2500 buildings.