If you’ve ever made an impulse purchase or have made the decision to purchase something despite previously talking yourself out of it, I’m sorry to say, but you’ve fallen victim to emotional marketing.
Emotional marketing is all around us – so much so, we don’t even realize it most of the time. It conveys a feeling that we’d like to experience – a sense of relief, pleasure, or happiness – that we’ll only get if we purchase the product that’s being advertised.
The concept of playing to peoples’ emotions in marketing has been around for…well…as long as there has been marketing. What was it that Mad Men’s Don Draper said? “Advertising is based on one thing: happiness.”
He says this line in the first episode of the show, and while it might not be an altogether realistic representation of the modern world of marketing, that sentiment rings true. You want people to feel good about the purchase they’re going to make.
Emotional marketing plays a huge role in the B2C space, but many B2B marketers don’t feel that it can help them in their B2B endeavours. Luckily, that isn’t the case. I’m here to tell you that B2B decision-makers have emotions too, and you can create extremely effective campaigns by appealing to them. Here’s how.
How Emotional Are We?
First of all, I think it’s important to understand how crucial emotions are in our decision-making.
Purchasing behavior is actually a fairly interesting topic and digging into it will show you that a consumer’s emotional response to an ad has a far greater influence on their reported intent to buy a product that the ad’s content.
This means that the way people feel about something severely impacts their buying decisions. Keep in mind, when I write about people, I’m not referring to the abstract concept of people. I’m talking about me, you…everybody who’s being marketed to.
You may not realize it (and in many cases, that’s the point) but if you have emotions, they’re being played to in one form or another with marketing.
Hang on, though! This isn’t a bad thing. Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Southern California, Antonio Damasio argues that emotions are required in almost all decisions.
Without getting too deep into the science of it all, emotions are an important part of our lives, and while they can sometimes get the better of us, they’re helpful in our decision-making process. Think about it, you’re not likely to pursue an option that makes you feel uncomfortable – this gut feeling is how many of us avoid scams on a daily basis.
Examples of Emotional Marketing
There are countless examples of brands tugging at heartstrings or otherwise appealing to emotions in their marketing in order to make a more effective case for their product.
Here are just a few that I think highlight the concept clearly:
McDonald’s ‘Friends Wanted Campaign’
Ahh, McDonald’s. You can’t really think of branding without seeing those golden arches in your mind’s eye.
Recently, McDonald’s has launched the new recruitment campaign, ‘Friends Wanted’.
The gist of these ads is that McDonald’s is calling on younger people to apply for jobs with their friends, and they’re using these brief, charming ads to do it.
The ‘Friends Wanted’ recruitment ads are short – the longest one I could find clocking in at about 30 seconds – which is perfect for their audience and format. They show a pair of friends working together, and the emotional message is fairly obvious.
“Come work for McDonald’s. It’s a fun place to work with your friends.”
These ads show the pair goofing off together, laughing, and making after work plans – things that young people would reasonably want out of a first working experience – plus, it conveys a sense of nostalgia to the rest of us.
For many people, McDonald’s probably was their first job, and this campaign might surface happy memories of working there with their friends.
- Be willing to tell a story with your ad.
- Know your target audience well.
Apple’s Holiday Ad – The Surprise
Apple has always been terrific at capturing ‘slice-of-life’ moments that feel authentic for their marketing, but ‘The Surprise’, in particular, really tugs at the heartstrings. I know because my eyes started to well up a bit nearing the end of watching this ad for research (yes, I’m a big ol’ softie).
This ad brings you into the lives of a family on their way to their grandfathers’ for the (presumably) first holiday without their grandmother.
Apple presents an accurate representation of older children returning home with their own kids in tow, and manages to portray sentimentality in under five minutes.
At the end we’re shown a heartwarming moment, as the children have created an animated slideshow (using their favourite iPad) to bring the whole family together to remember their loved one who has passed away.
Christmas is a hotbed when it comes to emotional marketing because, well, Christmas is an emotional time. This ad manages to capture feelings of togetherness and even manages to play off negative emotions without endangering their message.
- Authenticity goes a long way in emotional marketing. If this ad didn’t appear as real as it does, it wouldn’t be as effective.
- Negative emotions can be effective motivators, but the line should be carefully walked.
Ikea – the Lamp
This is probably my favourite example of emotional marketing of all time.
The image of this poor, sad lamp is etched into my brain from the time that I was a ten-year old boy, unprepared to be emotionally assaulted during the commercial break of a King of Queens rerun marathon.
This ad is brilliant because it’s up front and honest about its emotional tactics. It subverts the viewer’s expectations by confronting you at the end and making you realize what an emotional being you are (and likely how easily you’re swayed by this kind of ad).
Once it’s clear what we’ve been watching, it’s hard not to say, “Dang it, Ikea…you got me.” With a big smile on your face.
This type of clever subversion and unexpected sense of humor is the type of thing that stays with people and will make them call you to memory the next time they’re in the market for what you offer. Heck, I watched this commercial eighteen years ago and now, for what it’s worth, my house is fully furnished by Ikea.
- Don’t be afraid of humor! It’s extremely memorable. Let your audience in on the joke.
- Emotional marketing is effective for branding, and leaves a longer standing impression than the sheer content of your ad.
How Can We Use Emotional Marketing for B2B?
Like I mentioned before, emotional marketing doesn’t have to be just for the B2C marketers. B2B buyers are people too, and while their buyer’s journey tends to be a little longer, appealing to their emotions is an effective way of making yourself stand out.
Knowing your audience is a crucial first step. Without knowing who you’re marketing to, it’s going to be difficult to nail down exactly what message or emotions will be most effective for them.
Telling your brand’s story is a great way to convey a particular emotion. This is likely to resonate with someone who’s looking for a solution from a company that shares similar values. If your company has humble roots, tell your contacts about them. If someone can identify with your story, they’re likely to feel better about choosing you over someone else.
It’s a safe bet to go after positive emotions, but don’t completely shy away from evoking negative ones. At the end of the day, we want people to feel good about our products, but something like FOMO can be a powerful motivator – especially if they’ve been considering for some time.
It’s time to drop the stuffy B2B voice. You know the one I’m talking about. If you’re aiming to appeal to someone’s emotions, it’s not exactly effective if it sounds like your content was written by a sentient suit. Inject some humor into your writing and make sure It feels authentic – people are much more likely to respond to your marketing that way.
Finally, marketing that feels personal tends to leave a more lasting impression. This is one reason that Email Lead Generation is as effective as it is. It allows you to reach a large group of cold contacts in a way that feels more personal than other methods of outbound marketing, so you can deliver content that appeals to their emotions that feels like it was meant just for them.
To see how Email Lead Generation can help you create more emotional B2B marketing, sign up for a free 1-on-1 demo today.