The Importance of Emotional Marketing

The truth is, nothing can elicit a response quite like the right emotion. What we, as marketers, want most from our audience is a response. We want them to answer our calls to action. We want them to opt in, engage, buy, join, or do something else that we tell them to do. And, the best way to do that is to evoke the right emotions that cause the right action to take place.  That, in a nutshell, explains the importance of emotional marketing.

Importance of emotional marketing

What are some of the results of good emotional marketing?  Read on, my friend.

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What Is Emotional Marketing?

Emotional marketing is a term thrown around in the marketing world. It doesn’t mean that you market by reacting emotionally yourself.  Rather, it means that you market by evoking emotions in your target audience.  Emotional marketing uses various words, colors, and images to evoke certain emotions in the audience in all your marketing messages. In fact, there is an entire science involved in marketing that studies the effect of the colors, images, and words on the page and how they affect the consumer.

These eight emotions are most commonly used in emotional marketing:

1. Sadness
2. Fear
3. Anger
4. Surprise
5. Disgust
6. Anticipation
7. Joy
8. Trust

In addition to those eight, each emotion, in combination with others, can create other emotions. For example, joy, anger, and anticipation can translate into passion. Anticipation coupled with joy can be called optimism. Each audience has their own trigger words that will evoke certain emotions. In addition, for each target audience, certain emotions will trigger various actions.  To succeed at emotional marketing, your trick is to understand your target audience’s trigger words (to evoke their emotions) and to know what emotions will trigger the action that you want them to take.

Encourage Sharing

For the most part, emotions like joy and trust make us want to share with others. That being the case, you may want to make your audience feel trusting and happy to get them to share their information with you and to share you with their friends. Each audience has its own language that elicits trust and happiness. It’s important to learn it.

Make Them Want to Help

If you want people to empathize, you should seek to evoke feelings of sadness and loss in the audience members. Think of the ASPCA commercials where they show abused and starving animals while a sad song plays in the background. This makes the audience feel sad and angry and want to help. Since the ASPCA is a well-known organization with a good reputation, they already have the trust of their target audience. Each time the commercials air, many people take the action that the ASPCA is trying to evoke with emotional marketing — they donate.

Go Viral

If you want a post to go viral, negative feelings are most powerful.  Your post should evoke anger, disgust and anticipation, or fear. To make it successful, you want your target audience to take a specific action.  So be sure to give your them a way out of these bad feelings, which is to buy what you’re offering. This works because these bad feelings are extraordinarily powerful and have lasting consequences.

Feelings First

When engaging in emotional marketing, it’s important to realize that feelings go first. First, people feel, and then they buy. If you want more people to buy, make them feel something that leads them to buying what you’re offering.

Examples of Emotional Marketing

A great lesson in the way emotional marketing works is to watch the entire series of Mad Men, especially the early episodes. You can learn so much about how the copywriters and ad men dealt with their audience’s emotions through the written word, images, and eventually TV commercials.

Fortunately, emotional marketing is all around you.  Be aware of it and you will learn a lot from it.  Here are some of my favorite examples to take a look at:

Procter & Gamble – This award-winning ad elicits feelings of community, belonging, family, and pride very well.  And if the story lines don’t make you cry by the end, the series of crying moms will do the trick.

Netflix Commercial – This commercial makes you want to belong to the community of watchers and see the shows that only are on Netflix, due to the innovative, funny, and interesting shows.  The awkwardness of Ricky Gervais is very relatable.


Pfizer – This commercial pulls at the heartstrings to promote the message of a drug company.  The stealthy activity at the beginning of the commercial causes you to draw some conclusions but the surprise ending delivers the message.


What commercials can you find that evokes emotions in you? What about sales pages, or blog posts, or other types of advertising?  Share your favorites in the comments below.

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