The emotional marketing is a key resource for understanding why consumers do what they do. Today, most of us marketers know data such as gender, age, location and purchase history of users. But all this data is only a small part of the story.
In most cases, user engagement is not driven by rational factors, but by emotional ones. Learning to identify these emotional factors allows us to understand how to interact with customers and design truly effective emotional marketing experiences .
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What is emotional marketing and how does it work?
Emotional marketing is based on the recognition that purchasing decisions are not usually merely rational, but are based on unconscious emotions .
Our mind is divided into conscious and unconscious thought. We tend to give precedence to the conscious mind, but in reality, its functionality is limited, since processing stimuli in this way requires a lot of energy. Therefore, in order for decisions to be made as quickly and efficiently as possible, our body limits conscious thought.
The vast majority of the information we receive through the senses is processed implicitly and unconsciously. For example, through sight, implicit processes can receive 10,000,000 bits of information per second, while explicit ones only 40.
All of these implicit processes are controlled by the limbic system, sometimes called “the emotional brain.” And the result of this is that many of our decisions are made unconsciously based on emotions.
The takeaway is that when a customer decides to buy your product, they often make this decision before their mind is even aware of it, based on thousands of implicit signals. Therefore, our marketing is doomed to fail if we do not take into account the irrational and emotional factors behind purchasing decisions.
How to optimize your emotional marketing experiences
To create emotional marketing experiences that increase user engagement , we have to be able to identify the emotional needs of users and incorporate them into our marketing actions. We are going to see how we can do it using a model proposed by the German research group Gruppe Nymphenburg and based on different disciplines such as neuroanatomy, evolutionary biology, neurochemistry and psychology: the limbic model .
The 3 emotional systems
The limbic model is based on a classification into three major emotional systems that influence consumer behavior and make them seek or avoid different sensations. These three systems are:
- The stimulation system , which seeks to discover new things and learn skills. This part of our brain likes novelty, curiosity, change, surprise, and excitement. This system flees from boredom, but is attracted to new sensations.
- The domination system , which is focused on results, assertiveness, the elimination of competition, status, power and autonomy. This system looks for feelings related to pride and victory and flees from anger and helplessness.
- The balance system , which seeks to avoid risks and generate stability. Your main goals are harmony, conformity, and security, and you try to avoid feeling fear or anxiety.
The domination and stimulation systems seek to broaden horizons, while the equilibrium system serves as a counterweight when trying to avoid excessive risks.
The 7 limbic types
The next big idea from the limbic model is that all three emotional systems are present in all people, but not in the same proportion. Some of us are more prone than others to certain types of stimuli. Based on our individual tendencies, we can identify 7 limbic types:
- The adventurer : his predominant systems are stimulation and domination. He is impulsive, autonomous and rebellious and he likes challenges.
- The productive : it moves mainly through the system of domination. He has a results-oriented personality, focuses on success and status, and is ambitious.
- The disciplined : moves in the zone between domination and balance. He is frugal, reasonable, precise, applied and logical and prefers to have clear structures.
- The traditionalist : very oriented towards balance, with certain traits of domination. He is a modest, decent and structured person, who seeks above all to protect himself from threats.
- The Harmonizer : Balance is your predominant system, with some stimulating traits. Family and harmony are very important to this guy. You care about others, you are kind, and you need to feel safe.
- The open minded : moves between balance and stimulation. You are optimistic, open to considering new ideas, dreamy and flexible, and you love to enjoy life with all your senses.
- The Hedonist : Stimulation is your star system. She is a curious, spontaneous, creative, fun, individualistic and outgoing person and loves to diversify.
How to adapt your emotional marketing according to the limbic model
The limbic model teaches us that different people respond to different types of stimuli. In the world of marketing, this means that we must employ different strategies to reach consumers .
For example, we are going to see a basic correspondence between emotional systems and marketing tactics:
- Stimulation system : this system is attracted to the novel and the rare. To get you interested in our product, we can launch a special edition with limited stocks.
- Domination system: this system seeks to take advantage of the opportunities of the environment to gain an advantage over others. Therefore, a classic discount strategy can be a very good way to attract you.
- Balance system : people with a dominant balance system seek social consensus and know that they are making the right decision to avoid risks. What works best to convince them is to show positive reviews from other customers to generate social proof.