I remember the day I slung my backpack down and curled into the desk of my 8 am Marketing Psychology class.
“No decision is based in logic. All decisions from business to personal are emotional. If you can understand the psychology around emotion you can do anything from pick a jury, craft a marketing campaign or put a politician in the White House.”
For a kid from Arkansas going to college during Bill Clinton’s first campaign for the White House, I set-up straight in my desk and leaned in. That semester changed my career path and the way I crafted everything from marketing campaigns to DRP contracts.
Understanding the emotion of any decision is critical to personal and professional success. Simply put, everyday your acting from emotion or asking others to act from their emotions. It may be a consumer choosing whom to repair their car or what paint do you choose for your business. It’s all emotion, all the time.
Some of you right now disagree. You’ll tell me that you weigh options like cost, experience, product quality and service to make a decision that is best for your business.
Now, think again? What around you is logical? What around you is how you “felt” about the person, place or thing when you made the decision. There is a reason salesmen buy lunches and have golf outings. They know that how you feel about them is in many ways more important then how you feel about the product.
I meet with business owners, managers and associations across the country that struggle with their communication and marketing plans. They grab on to independent consultants and organizations that promise increased customer reach and connection. The problem is if your seeking to connect from a non-emotional place, no company, consultant or product can help you connect with a potential customer.
Recently, I gave a very unpopular speech at an industry event. I think everyone in the room hated me by the time I walked off the stage. In fact, my table at the lunch was completely empty! The speech was around what Insurers know about marketing and consumer expectations that repairers fail to accept. Have you ever noticed how insurers don’t “educate” consumers around part types, DRP’s or industry issues with their marketing efforts? Have you noticed how some repairers and associations spend large amounts on these efforts? If insurers don’t educate with marketing while repairers and associations do, then why is the gap for the consumer still so wide?
Insurers understand the principles of emotion in consumer decision making. They know that connection with an audience has to be around something that can be universal, such as comedy or empathy. If everyone can’t connect with it, then no one can connect to it.
What repairers typically do wrong is they speak from their emotional place through marketing, not speaking to their consumer's emotion. What does that mean? As a repairer problems such as steering, aftermarket parts and insurance demands are emotional for us. We feel if the consumer just understood these issues, then logically they would choose the right shop for repairs. However, the consumer from their emotional place wants an easy and seamless repair. They really want someone else to deal with the entire process.
It’s this emotional place that invented the DRP programs.
You can stop reading now and agree with the upset audience from that speech, I’m an arrogant jerk.
But now we’re on the same page, a decision (about me) made from emotion. What button does this line of science push for you? Yes, the science of decision making!
Wait isn't this blog about emotions?
This isn’t just my thoughts and lessons based on a Freshman marketing class. In 1994, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio published his groundbreaking work on emotion, decisions and the brain. Providing the scientific evidence for what Marketers had known for decades. He studied people with damage in the part of the brain where emotions are generated. They seemed normal, except that they were not able to feel emotions. But they all had something peculiar in common: they couldn’t make decisions. They could describe what they should be doing in logical terms, yet they found it very difficult to make even simple decisions, such as what to eat.
So, what does all this mean for you?
It doesn’t matter if your a shop owner, a paint vendor, an equipment salesman or a lawyer getting people to do what you want, means understanding emotions. Look at your current sales pitch or marketing plan and ask yourself, where and what is the emotion? If we know scientifically decision without emotion is not possible do you give customers an emotional choice? Is it their feelings or yours? Step back and make sure you’re not allowing your emotions to taint your message.
Go find creative ways to connect with potential customers on their level and on their terms. If you do, that emotional connection will create a customer for life.