I like to run. I’m training for a marathon, the Marine Corps in DC – will be my first full this Halloween. While I really enjoy running, I would hardly label myself a runner. For me that’s reserved for, well, real runners. Maybe someday I’ll feel that I qualify for that group, but for now, having only run a handful of half-marathons and local races…I think of my self as a semi-beginner.
There’s this store that I frequent for all my running gear. While it’s somewhat overpriced compared to elsewhere, it has successfully captured me via speaking to my emotional needs.
We all have needs. One is the need to fit into a group – to belong. Understanding consumer purchase behavior involves not only understanding how decisions are made, but also the dynamics that influence purchases. In this case, this store has developed a really effective strategy for reaching out and connecting with people like me who enjoy the sense of belonging they receive from being associated with the community, products and information they provide. I run with a group every Saturday that meets at the store, I’ve attended book signings and referred friends to the store and I’ve made new friends from interacting there as well. It’s motivating to me to be part of such a community, I’ve learned from the elite runners and I’ve tried to motivate the newbies.
One might say that this is “tribal” marketing. Tribal marketing is a strategy that attempts to create social groups or communities that are centered around a product or service. The internet has made this not-so-new concept much more effective. In my running scenario, I receive a monthly email with tips, emails on runs to participate in or events the store is hosting. They are also on Facebook and Twitter. What they’ve done is responded to my emotional needs, where they’ve connected their product or service to their target audience (me) on the most basic emotional level.
So what does all this mean to you?
Don’t ignore your customer’s emotional needs. While what you have can fulfill customer wants and needs – what you’re doing, how you’re doing it that touches on satisfying emotional needs is just as important. The internet has made building and leading tribes easier than ever before. Before the internet, people would have spent a considerable amount of money to accomplish the sense of belonging they can create with a combined brick and mortar with internet approach.
The bottom line is that emotions drive our behavior; the world is driven by emotions. Rational thought leads customers to be interested but it is emotion that sells. If you can play to people’s emotions, you are likely to get the sale when you may otherwise have not.