Buying on Emotion: The Hidden Mojo of Marketing

Iceburg - choice - justificationDetermining the best approach to effectively marketing your product or service often involves a lot of intuition, even to a clearly defined market.

In that context, it is helpful to look at marketing as a form of behavior modification. From that perspective, marketing’s primary task is to inspire desired actions in the intended audiences. Since buying in some form (voting, donating, purchasing) is a behavior, we need to understand how people come to those decisions.

My readers and clients have heard me share this quote many times: “People buy on emotion and justify with logic.”* This means that emotion plays a central role in making choices, and it kicks in way before logical thinking begins. It starts in the unconscious and works its way up. By the time our conscious minds are engaged, opinions have been formed and justification begins.

This is why marketing is an art more than a science. Data driven marketing looks at quantifiable metrics, not at the far less quantifiable effect of feelings. To put it in a practical sense, it’s lovely that your Facebook post got all those clicks, but did the clicks buy anything?

To reach the level of engagement where sales actually happen, we have to dig down to the emotions that drive buying behavior.

This is where design kicks in. Emotional buy-in is directly affected by visual design, including elements such as color, imagery and layout. These cause reactions at an emotional level well before the words are read, and they set up readers to respond in certain ways. Words supported by pictures will reinforce your verbal messages at your customers’ unconscious levels. That is why effective integration of both the words and imagery of your content is so important.

So we need to put ourselves in our customers’ shoes, pretend we’re them and try to understand what happens in their unconscious when they’re choosing to buy. How would we respond if we were like ________? Game it out and see where it leads. you.

These insights will help you explain your value in a way that is meaningful to your market. When marketing is done well, it helps make buyers aware of the best options for their lives and businesses. Marketing done poorly is pushy, dishonest and spammy. No one wants to buy when they feel manipulated and pressured, which are all negative emotions.

To increase your chances of getting the buying decisions you want, an understanding of what inspires your market to form positive emotional responses is vital. Based on that understanding, words and pictures designed together will result in message integration that gives you your best shot at generating the outcomes you want.

That’s what I do for my clients — check out examples on my site here. If you need some input on a project you have in mind take advantage of my free 30-minute consultation to discuss how I can help you make your case to your market. Contact me and let’s talk soon!

*The earliest attribution I found cites Jack Dempsey, 2012

Scroll to Top