You can trace every single business transaction back to an emotion. If you’re in the non-profit world, but still responsible for fundraising, you especially know what this means. Whether you’re an entrepreneur searching for your next big idea, a business owner trying to grow or a marketer responsible for promoting a product or services – pay attention.
My office mates have coined some of the phrases they hear me say often in our strategy sessions. Every few months I introduce a new concept for them to think of as marketers. These apply to any and all media – traditional, digital, etc.
- What’s in it for me?
- Follow the money.
- What can we leverage?
Each of these helps us test the effectiveness or increase the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. Well, chasing emotions does the same thing, and my office better prepare to start hearing me say – where’s the emotion?
Think about why people make purchases – the special egg yolk separator will save me time in the kitchen, this sports car goes fast, this printer/fax/scanner combo machine will take up less space, cool magazine cover, attractive label on the bottle of wine. Granted, these are mostly consumer purchases, but who makes the buying decisions for companies? People of course, so this is true in the B2B world, as well.
Go beyond the physical product world into professional services or intangible technology such as apps and you will still find emotions driving purchasing decisions. Whether it’s the in-person interview with an attorney or downloading an app for reading news, each and every interaction is based on an emotional response. Marketers must realize the vast array of personalities they are dealing with.
A conversation with a professional coach the other day raised a question regarding the sales process. As a business development person should you try to match the style of the person you are selling to in order to win over their trust? Ironically, in my years of training, I quickly said yes. The coach differed. He said that today it’s about being aware of the mix of communication and how to best interact, but that it’s not always mimicking the style. I will agree with that more detailed answer, especially in an age of authenticity and transparency.
It’s important to first note that you will not satisfy or attract everyone so don’t try – otherwise the old adage of “You better stand for something, otherwise you’ll fall for anything,” comes true. If you look at the most successful companies you will find their toughest market adversary has a different personality. Think about what these companies represent and then how that compares to their competitors:
- Apple vs. Dell (or Mac vs. PC – thanks to the TV commercials this is easy)
- Axe Body Spray vs. Old Spice
- McDonald’s vs. Wendy’s
- TOMS Shoes vs. Cole Haan
- Google vs. Yahoo
- Facebook vs. MySpace
If you go to the heart of these products or services you will find there is an emotion that fits. MySpace was developed for musicians and music enthusiasts. Now, did Facebook steal the audience or provide a new home? MySpace is attempting a comeback and ironically, to many music enthusiasts it never failed. It was simply a different audience. Axe Body Spray is most likely not purchased by the same gents purchasing Old Spice. Not that the latter is seeking a fox hunt in the English countryside, but they certainly aren’t believing a body spray will win them the attention of beautiful women.
I felt it was important to put in Google and Yahoo and some of the others to show that the emotional charge doesn’t go away just because a product or service is free. If anything, it’s probably more predominant. Swipe the screen of your smart phone and think about all the app choices you have for each and every app you are using. There are hundreds of apps for investing, expense management, news consumption, etc. Perhaps it’s features you liked better in one or another, but it could also be that emotionally, you preferred how one app interacted with you – simplicity, complexity, visual appeal, shared audience, whatever the case may be.
If you chase the emotion you will find the sale. Just don’t be a paranoid, bi-polar, schizophrenic because then no one wants to hang out with you.