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You Need to Tug People’s Heart Strings to Sell More

Marketing depends heavily on human psychology and appeals to basic human desire in order to sell products and services.

If customers are emotionally moved by your marketing, they are likely to give your product or service a try. This practice is commonplace and at the very center of marketing practices around the world.

There have also been several instances where businesses have tapped into other emotional aspects and good causes that affect all human beings. Whether it is a concern for animals, the environment or a humanitarian issue, marketers have tapped into this emotional need to care with great success.

Emotions Drive Consumer Decisions

Emotions play a vital role in shaping consumer decisions. This has been well documented. When a consumer makes a buying decision, it is likely that it is heavily influenced by emotions from previous experiences and those generated by the product itself.

Marketers have used emotional motivators to drive customer behavior. Several companies are looking to strike an emotional connection as part of a larger marketing strategy.

Did you know that B2C customers are driven more not just by value, but by emotional triggers that only stories can easily pull?

Here are a few interesting statistics derived from the research report titled ‘From Promotion to Emotion’:

  • B2B brands that connect with their buyers on an emotional level earn twice the impact over marketers who are still trying to sell business or functional value.
  • Potential B2B buyers who feel a “high brand connection” are 60% more likely to consider, purchase and even pay a premium than “low brand connection” competitors.
  • “Professional, social and emotional benefits” marketing has a 42% lift.

When it comes to content marketing, it has been found that top-performing content was three times more likely to be emotionally focused. When you elicit an emotion with content, it is more likely that your customers will share it, comment on it, and most importantly, take the action that marketers desire.

It is, therefore, crucial that your marketing message always comes with a two-fold objective:

  1. It should elicit the desired emotion in the customer.
  2. The emotion should then lead customers to take action.

The taking of action should essentially translate into them buying the product. Customers gravitate more towards products that support a good cause and are, therefore, more likely to buy them.

Here, marketers use the basic human psychology of compassion and altruism. Doing so may or may not be authentic, but the truth is that it can be very effective.

When emotions of compassion and empathy are triggered, people normally respond in a positive manner. Here, businesses can use the sale of their products as a means to make a positive change towards a pressing cause.

Tapping into Customers’ Emotions to Drive Product Sales

An excellent example of using emotions to market products can be seen in the partnership between Hain Celestial personal care brands and CARE, a humanitarian organization. Through the Qach’Umilal Girls’ program, three brands – Alba Botanica, Avalon Organics and JĀSÖN – are actually launching a limited edition of bath and body products, featuring drawings made by underprivileged Guatemalan girls. The program aims at creating sustainable livelihoods through education, health and nutrition.

Several brands have integrated a cause into their business model so successfully that it is difficult to separate the two. Take TOMS Shoes, for instance. For every pair of shoes that the company sells, it donates one pair to the underprivileged children of Argentina. Although it has a very strong desire to help the underprivileged children get decent shoes to protect their feet from infections and other health problems, it surely isn’t charity. It is a for-profit business venture that happens to support a humanitarian cause. The emotional story behind TOMS Shoes is the driving force behind its success.

Another example of the use of a story to tap into the emotional machinery of customers is PlayaDelCarmen’s feature on the human side of people and supporting them in their efforts. Apart from being the definitive guide of all exciting things in the exotic beach town of Playa del Carmen in the Mexican Caribbean, they also share inspiring stories of human endeavor. Their blog and social media pages featured a story about a dog shelter in the city that has rescued over a 1000 dogs till date and houses around 200 in a facility. Rather than just feature the story and be done with, they went a step ahead and suggested ways in which people can actually contribute to this amazing facility.

Warby Parker is another business that doesn’t believe in simply donating stuff in the hope that the donations will reach deserving individuals. Instead, when customers buy Warby Parker glasses, the company makes a donation to their non-profit partners, depending on the sales for that month. The company trains men and women in developing countries to conduct basic eye exams and sell glasses in their communities at affordable rates. The company believes that merely donating creates a culture of dependency that is unsustainable.

Several businesses the world over have a USP similar to TOMS. For every product the customer buys, help that is usually worth the price of the product is extended to a cause. This kind of business model is highly successful as it benefits the company, the recipient and the emotional needs of the customers. They feel better for having done something charitable.

To successfully use this kind of marketing, you need to be sure of the kind of emotions you wish to evoke in your audience. This starts with defining your core audience and then extrapolating their emotional needs. All your organization’s internal and external communication should resonate with this insight.

Parting Thoughts

Human beings are emotional creatures and anything that tugs at their heart strings surely creates a lasting impression. Any emotional response that motivates altruism leads to customers buying products and services that promise to help a cause. If marketers can tap into this emotional aspect of humans, they have a successful marketing strategy on their hands. So, let business and benevolence meet to achieve your marketing goals.


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Dipti Parmar, a digital marketing wiz is associated with E2M Solutions. She’s been journeying through the world of digital marketing for 6 years and is a blogger and networker. She’s also a movie buff and loves taking long walks by the seashore. http://www.preceptist.com/

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