Emotive Marketing: The Hidden Emotional Needs of Consumers

Posted by Camille Storms on Tue, Mar 01, 2016 @ 10:14 AM

margin emotive blog

Read time: 4 - 5 minutes

This month, we take a closer look at Emotive Marketing and what it can mean for your business, product and/or service.

People generally make decisions emotionally and then rationalise them logically after, so that means Emotive Marketing affects people at a hidden, subconscious level. 

But how do you get to that level? According to Vance Packard, author of The Hidden Persuaders, there are eight hidden needs that consumers have that themes and symbols in advertising and marketing attempt to sell. In this post, we look at these hidden needs, seen as subconsciously emotion-based, and how this can help when forming your Emotive Marketing strategy.

They are as follows...

1. Emotional security

A universal and inherent value in people is that we are fragile, emotional beings, with very few of us achieving deep emotional security; thus it is always something we look for. From a business perspective, this emotion-based need calls for digital marketing content which promises comfort, happiness and banishing of bad feelings; focusing on the security aspect, emphasising home, permanence and safety.

2. Reassurance of worth

Social media plays a huge role in shaping society's behaviour. It’s one of the newest ways for people to seek reassurance from their peers - are they worthy? Are they adding value? How are they portraying themselves?

A lot of digital marketing plays to this emotion-based need for reassurance. For example, they talk about how buying their products you will be doing the right thing, saving the environment or helping others.

Influencer marketing also plays into this: celebrities or other online thought leaders (famous bloggers, Instagramers, YouTubers, etc.) lend their voice to marketing campaigns, basically saying ‘if you wear this/buy this, you will be admired and valued like me’.

3. Ego-gratification

Related to a person's worth in that it is also about sense of identity, ego-gratification basically highlights a person's need for praise and acknowledgement. For example, when a person does something great at work they want to be congratulated and praised; much like children, they crave praise that encourages them to do more/do better, etc.

In digital marketing, marketers can use this need by praising/awarding customers for buying products (perhaps ahead of time), which encourages them to continue this purchasing behaviour.

4. Creative outlets

Creativity is an inherent need in everyone. Many jobs provide little creative outlet, leaving this need unfulfilled; thus people seek creative opportunity in other parts of their lives.

This means you should market your products/services that inspire creativity - be it the way you interact with a product or the way the product is presented. For example, if you are selling clothes you could create content on blogs and social media sites that allow readers to share their outfit inspirations, or perhaps create an interactive app where users could mix and match clothing items.

5. Love objects

Everyone wants to love and be loved - no matter which way you look at it, many decisions in life (purchased or otherwise) come down to love. Children have teddy bears and toys; adults have one another, cars, pets, gadgets, etc.

Packard notes that everyone needs something to love and if they don't have something, they will buy or make it. Adverts, in turn, sell us things to love and things for our loved ones (including our pets).

6. Sense of power

There are many different levels of power in society, large-scale and small, as well as perceptible and imperceptible.

Packard shared how power and influence can, for many, equate with social status. The newest top-of-the line cars, large houses...many people feel this is the epitome of the "perfect" lifestyle and contentment. Marketing thus focuses on the power of their brand and the reliability of the products and/or services they sell. They imply that buying these products and/or services will put you in charge and, therefore, satiate your need for power.

7. Sense of roots

People identify with their school, their college, where they were brought up, their country, their employer, their family ties, their religion, etc. All of these are important, and the longer a person stays in one place, the more ties they create with it and the more important it is.

Now, many Australians live mobile lives, moving from place to place, job to job - this emotion-based need highlights how many of us seek roots but also seek to satisfy other needs rendering us rootless. Marketing and adverts which emphasise family, nationalism, sports teams, or whatever else that people can identify with are powerful notions to think about when it comes to your digital marketing strategy. Does your content anchor website visitors to something that reminds them of their heritage/family/background, inspiring a sense of place?

8. Immortality

Certainly one of the biggest fears we all have is death. Or perhaps not of death but of ceasing, of nothingness. From this, people seek to create meaning - of life beyond death through having children; writing books; making music; building companies etc.

There’s also an obsession with the fountain of youth, of cheating age, striving to look younger and also growing older gracefully. There’s an endless supply of marketing for products and services that play to this emotion-based need; you’ve probably seen the weight loss/skin tightening/diet to end all diets/age-defying product messages.

How many of these emotive marketing tactics have you used? Maybe it's time to start thinking more emotionally with your marketing, speaking directly to what your customer needs or desires.  


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Topics: Online Advice, Guide to Content Marketing

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