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How Emotion Powers Your Marketing: Insights From Neuromarketing


Power of emotion SalesBrainDo you employ the power of emotion in your marketing? Neuromarketing tells us that emotion should be a dominant factor in your marketing efforts and overall strategy. (Learn more about neuromarketing here.)

The Rational Barrier To Emotion

This may be difficult to accept by companies and executives who manage analytically and rationally. These companies and executives tend to use the "me" voice in marketing messages, that is, the voice of the company. And these messages are typically recitations of facts, features and benefits-interesting to company execs, but not compelling to customers.

"You've got to say it in such a way that people will feel it in their gut. Because if they don't feel it, nothing will happen." - William Bernbach, Advertising Legend

What motivates customers is the "you" voice, the voice of the customer. And when emotion is coupled with the "you" voice the "buy button" in the customer's brain is pushed. Here's why.

The Science of Emotions

"Our conscious control over emotions is weak, and feelings often push out thinking, whereas thinking fights a mainly losing battle to banish emotions. This is because the wiring of the brain favours emotion - the connections from the emotional systems to the cognitive systems are stronger than the connections that run the other way." (1)

How To Put Emotion Into Your Advertising

A useful framework for deciding where to insert emotion into advertising is taken from Renvoise and Patrick's Message Building Blocks (see Neuromarketing: Understanding The Buy Buttons In Your Customer's Brain). Emotion can be used in all of these blocks, and the more the better.

  • Grab Attention Early: use mini-dramas and stories. For example, David Ogilvy, another advertising legend, said, "When you sell fire extinguishers, open with the fire."
  • Dramatic Visuals: use dramatic visuals that evoke the emotional pain of the prospect and the relief gained by your solution.
  • Support Claims: use stories, analogies, or metaphors that support your product or service claimes and that tap into emotions.

(See examples on the SalesBrain website.)

Marketing Takeaway

Selling via rational argument alone is not be as effective as selling emotionally, with facts and benefits serving to confirm a decision, not make it. Incorporate emotions into all parts of your marketing and advertising message, in both traditional outbound marketing (e.g. print, direct mail, and email) and the growing inbounding marketing (e.g. search-optimized websites, blogging, and social media.)


Learn more about how neuromarketing can help you push the buy button in your customer's brain.

Photo Credit: SalesBrain
"Buy Button" is taken from Neuromarketing: Understanding The Buy Buttons In Your Customer's Brain
(1) Quotation: Mapping The Mind, Rita Carter, quoting Joseph LeDoux from his book The Emotional Brain p.98

Mission: To help small and mid-size businesses acquire customers by re-thinking their business and marketing strategies.


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