Stop selling products and start selling emotions

Humans are not rational.

Most of the time, we base our decisions on emotions — not facts and figures.

The heart really does rule the head.

When you’re marketing a product or service, you’ll want to keep that in mind.

Why we care about one starving child, but not millions

A charity appeal focusing on one child’s plight raises more donations than a plea mentioning millions in the same situation.

That’s what research conducted by Deborah Small, a University of Pennsylvania marketing professor, showed.

Turns out that statistics switch people off. They talk to the brain rather than the heart.

On the other hand, an identifiable victim evokes sympathy. And emotion drives decisions.

Sell emotions

Around 5,000 people in the UK are affected by motor neurone disease, but this MNDA ad focuses on just one (I won’t get into the ad’s copywriting fail here).

Why Pepsi loses the cola sales war

Pepsi famously beat Coca-Cola in blind taste tests. So why does Coke win on sales?

Malcolm Gladwell says that’s because Coke tastes better when you drink more than a sip. But I think there’s something bigger at play.

Coca-Cola has done a damned good job of associating itself with happiness.

Coca cola - open happiness

They want to teach the world to sing. They put names on bottles and encouraged us to Share a Coke. People even think they invented Santa Claus.

Most people say money can’t buy you happiness, but Coca-Cola’s marketing team say it can. That’s why consumers are getting their wallets out.

I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC

When Apple set about usurping Microsoft from the top of the computer food chain, they didn’t talk about technical superiority.

The hugely successful Get a Mac campaign turned products into people. Apple knows it’s easier to get emotional about people than inanimate objects.

Mac PC

Mac was a fun, laid-back guy. PC was a boring, bumbling idiot. Viewers transferred their feelings about these characters onto the computers they represented, et voila: Macs are considered cool.

Marketing should appeal to emotions, not logic

I’m not saying there isn’t a place for specifications and descriptions on your product pages, just that your main message should talk to the heart — not the head.

If there’s no emotion, they’re not engaged. And disengaged people don’t buy.

The nature of the response doesn’t necessarily matter. The greatest movies can make us laugh, cry, gasp or scream. It’s the shrug that directors fear most.

  • Suction power doesn’t sell vacuum cleaners; disgust at seeing the dirt it gathers does.
  • Ingredients don’t sell expensive face creams; the confidence they give you does.
  • And carbon footprint stats don’t sell electric cars; pride in eco-friendliness does.


Need advice on what the right hosting option for your business is? Get in touch with us on 0191 640 2700 or [email protected] to talk about your needs.

Chris Ogle
Chris Ogle

With over 10 years sales and management experience and 3 years of search marketing background, Chris brings a unique perspective to delivering clients higher search visibility, and ultimately sales leads to deliver revenue. Chris's primary focus is identifying the opportunity from the data and breaking it down for our clients in real world language that anyone can understand. When Chris isn't helping his clients on their digital strategy, you can find him experimenting with the latest digital trends to discover new revenue streams to add additional value.

Ready to rule the world?