Why Emotion is the Key to Marketing in 2020

“I don’t care about feelings, I care about facts.”

So said a struggling business owner to me the other day. He wanted me to write some copy about why it is safe for everyone to go back to school, work and specifically his place of business.

So I tried to explain to him why blasting his audience with “the facts” around COVID19 wasn’t the right approach – at least, not if he wants his audience to truly hear what he’s saying.

Instead, a better approach to marketing – and really, life – in the age of COVID-19 is to lead with empathy. That means connecting with customers and prospects at an emotional level. Here’s why.

Think You’re a Logical Decision Maker? Think Again

Like my client, many very intelligent, highly educated people like to believe that they are logical thinkers. They believe that they – and by extension, others – make their decisions based on facts alone. And a few of them may actually do so.

However, the “FACTS” are that the vast majority of people actually do not make decisions on the basis of facts. Most decision making is actually emotionally driven.

Science and facts actually back this up. Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio found that emotions are a critical part of decision making. In a study of individuals whose brains had been injured in the part of the brain that creates emotional responses, Damasio found that while these individuals were very logical thinkers, when it came making decisions they were severely hampered.

Why? Because given two logical possibilities, they were unable to judge between them.

What this means – especially in times like these where people are more emotional than usual – is that even if a person knows all the facts, at the point of decision, emotions are typically the deciding factor.

Logic and facts may present us with choices, but feelings are how we decide between them.

Empathy and Emotion in Marketing

What does this mean for marketers? Marketing has five main goals: raising brand awareness, generating leads, positioning the brand through thought leadership, increasing customer value, and empowering sales. I would argue that all of these require emotional engagement to succeed.

  • Emotions are what makes a potential customer engage with your brand and remember the name in a sea of other choices. They feel you’re worth remembering.
  • Emotions are what make a potential customer trust your organization enough to provide contact information so you can follow up, or reach out to you directly. They feel you can be trusted.
  • Emotions are what makes a customer decide your company is a leader in your field. They feel smarter when they listen to you.
  • Emotions are the basis of customer value. Buying from you, means buying into you. They feel good about your brand; that makes them feel good about their purchase decision. By extension, they feel good about themselves.
  • Sales are the result of all of the above forms of emotional engagement. A sale is made when the customer decides your product or service is right for them, and that only happens when a customer feels it’s the right choice. Not necessarily the logical choice.

Now more than ever, it’s important to listen to your customers and truly hear what they’re saying. By listening, you’ll understand their challenges and the feelings behind the decisions they’re making. Tapping into those feelings will make your marketing efforts more successful.

Tapping into Emotion: How to do it Right

I recently saw a great example of an emotional appeal that works in marketing from local baseball coach Brent Lillibridge at Base by Pros.

This video works on several emotional levels. Obviously with the pandemic, parents are concerned about the safety of sending their kids to summer camps. But parents are also concerned about the impact of social distancing – and social isolation – on their kids. And for parents of young baseball players, there are also concerns about skill loss over the course of a year without baseball.

By connecting with viewers as a parent, the video reassures parents that he shares their concerns. The video’s emphasis on returning to play safely builds trust and authority. Ultimately, these both make this video a great example of how to use empathy and emotion to help customers make decisions during a challenging time.

What is working in your marketing? Have you seen any great emotion-based marketing efforts recently? Share them in comments or tag us on social media: IG @seekbuzz or Facebook @seekbuzzagency.