Have you ever heard the expression “People buy on emotion and rationalize with logic”? This expression has been around a long time, and neuroscience has proven it to be true.
In an article on Medium, Insight Demand CEO Michael Harris writes: “People do not decide emotionally. The decision to buy is made subconsciously, and these subconscious decisions are based on a deeply empirical mental processing system that follows a logic of its own.”
“Our subconscious/intuitive decision to buy is then communicated to the conscious mind via an emotion. The conscious mind then searches for rational reasons, and that’s how we complete the circle: We justify our emotional signals to buy with logical reasons. Phew, the illusion is now complete that the conscious mind that we identify with is in control so we can feel safe and secure.”
We justify our emotional signals to buy with logical reasons.
As marketers, we need to make sure our advertising fulfills both sides of the customer’s internal decision making process: the head and the heart.
Both logic and emotion go into a purchase decision
I buy a lot of backpacking equipment (it’s a problem). Recently, I started researching lightweight, down-filled sleeping bags. Oodles of outdoor brands manufacture this product in different colours, styles, weights and levels of warmth. Yet despite my many choices, I had a powerful compulsion to buy a Mountain Equipment Co-op sleeping bag, and I eventually did.
Looking back, I can clearly see the logic- and emotion-based reasoning I used to make my decision. It looked something like this:
The heart beliefs guided my decision to buy the MEC sleeping bag, and then as I was completing the checkout process on mec.com, my head kicked in with logical reasons to support my decision. According to Harris, this is the process many consumers go through when they buy a product for themselves. For some products, however, two different people bring the reasoning to the purchase decision.
One product can have both a user and an endorser
We’ve had the opportunity to work with two marketing teams who must promote their product to two very different decision makers. One marketing team is promoting a private education, and the other is promoting condos.
For the private education, the two decision makers are the student and the parents. The student is the one who will attend the school and use the education, but the parents pay the tuition fees and want to guide their child down a path to a fulfilling life.
For the condos, the two decision makers are the buyer and their parents. The 20-something-year-old buyer will be the one living in the condo and making the mortgage payments, but the parents may be providing the down payment and want to know their child is making a good investment.
The marketing teams needed to consider both the product user (the children) and the product endorser (the parents) when developing advertising campaigns.
Consider the sales funnel when choosing between head and heart messages
Emotion-based messages are most effective at hooking the user’s interest and making them want to learn more about your product. Appeal to the heart of the product user at the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey.
As the user learns more about your product, or when the product endorser comes to the table, offer more logic-based messages. Appeal to the head of the product user and product endorser at the consideration and decision stage of the buyer’s journey.
Once the product user and endorser have purchased your product, they want to feel assured that they made the right decision. Use heart-based messages in the retention stage to create the warm fuzzies that make customers feel cared for and appreciated.
Develop your messages early and use them consistently
We always take clients through the head and heart exercise when we develop or update their brand platforms. If you’re not re-invigorating your brand anytime soon, then develop these messages when planning your marketing calendar. Here’s how:
- Decide if you’re selling to a product user or both a user and an endorser.
- Brainstorm as many head and heart messages as possible. Write down all the emotional and logical reasons the user and/or endorser should choose your product.
- Run your list of messages past customers or co-workers, and narrow the list down to the top three or four key messages on each side.
- Look at your sales funnel and decide when and where you want to use the messages.
- Look at the tactics on your marketing calendar and assign head or heart key messages to each.
Use the key messages to guide the creative and copywriting you use in marketing tactics. You’ll have more success moving potential customers through the sales funnel since you’ll be offering the information they want to receive at each stage.