Emotional Marketing

Modern Marketing

There is a great set of books from Don Norman called “The Design of Everyday Things” and “Emotional Design“.  They not only help in the development of a product but also in the marketing.  People often buy products based on emotional (not logical) reasons including three key behaviors: visceral, behavioral, and reflective processing.

“Visceral design refers primarily to that initial impact, to its appearance. Behavioral design is about look and feel — the total experience of using a product. And reflection is about ones thoughts afterwards, how it makes one feel, the image it portrays, the message it tells others about the owner’s taste.”

This is a critical insight into how people make their buying decisions.  Do your marketing materials feed into these insights or fight against them?
There is a design principle called the “attractiveness bias”.  People tend to give the benefit of the doubt to products and people that are better looking.  This also goes for your marketing materials.  For example: Do your marketing emails rely too much on images?  The first impression will be a page full of broken images until the customer clicks “display images” in their email client.  Obviously this does not yield a great visceral reaction.  Does your website look polished or does it look like an engineer threw it together over the weekend?  First impressions count more than any other.
Read a random page on your website or one of your marketing newsletters.  Now ask yourself: Would a reasonable human being, a customer, actually read all of this?  If they did, would they enjoy it?  Think of ways to make it more readable and enjoyable.  Is it fun to read your messaging or is it confusing?  How easy is it to do business with your company?  Does your marketing feed the impression that it’s enjoyable to use your product and do business with your company?  This is the realm of User Experience Design, which deserves more detail, but suffice it to say that UX is all about making things enjoyable, productive, effective and profitable.  (Yes, Mom and Apple Pie, too)
This is probably the most overlooked of the mental processing a customer will use.  For example: Consider the car you purchased or even your wrist watch.  It says a lot about who you are.  Kelly, our marketing manager has a very functional digital watch that has lots of features.  It’s a “get it done” sort of image.  My watch, on the other hand is difficult to tell time, but you can see through the face to see the gears working.  I bought it because I loved how it reflected my personality to “see how things work”.  It is essential to your marketing that you tap into the aspirational images of your customers.  How do they want to perceive themselves?  At Marketo, we coordinate our messaging to consistently project our core values.  We believe these values resonate with our customers.  In other words, a customer will think, “What kind of person would buy this product?  Would I like to be that kind of person?”
Mostly, I use these techniques in product design.  However, as User Experience Architect, I try to influence our internal communications to use these techniques across the board.  Knowing how people think, how your customers think, will help you be more strategic and craft your messages appropriately.
If you are interested in more “Design-Driven” blog posts, please post a comment below with requests.  I am happy to oblige.