The Value of Emotions


Have you ever sat on hold with your cable provider, trying to figure out why your bill always seems to be more money than you thought it was going to be? Frustrated by this modern-day phenomenon, you hang on through the horrible hold music, only to be transferred several times to someone who tells you your issue will have to be “escalated” to a supervisor who will get back to you.

A couple of days later, you receive an email from your cable provider who declares you one of their “valued customers,” advertising an exclusive deal for their Wi-Fi services. You probably chuckled to yourself as you deleted that email. The last thing you’re going to do is sign up for yet another service with that company, regardless of how good of a deal they pitch you.

You may not realize it while you’re hitting that delete button, but what you just did was what most consumers do these days; decide on a brand not based on price, but on your experience and emotional response to them.

Emotions and Experience Control Purchase Power

If you think that the biggest driving force behind a purchase is price, think again. Today’s savvy consumer and competitive marketplace has made the reasons behind why a customer decides to buy from a brand much more complex than just what is on the price tag.

Recent data from Forrester Consulting indicates that how a consumer experiences your brand, and the emotional response that interaction creates, is the most compelling factor behind where they choose to spend their money. In fact, the emotional relationship a customer builds with your brand is so important that it even powers their loyalty and brand evangelism: 92% of those who had a positive experience will buy from that brand again, and 91% are willing to advocate for that brand to friends and family.

Numbers like these prove that knowing how to build a strong emotional bridge can make all the difference in how you cultivate long-term, positive relationships with your customers. So how do you begin creating those strong bonds? By delving into the details.

Big Data vs Small Data

While most marketing experts will agree that emotion’s role in decision-making and brand loyalty is crucial, determining how to harness that knowledge has proven difficult for many. The same Forester Consulting study indicates that 38% of brands don’t really know why a potential customer decides to buy from them.

So why the disconnect between theory and practice? A big cause for the gap is the information and data brands are currently using to achieve a deeper understanding of their clients. Over half of brands indicate they are using big data (e.g., CRM, transactional data, point-of-sale data, etc.) to isolate how their customers will behave once engaged. Big data can be useful in understanding WHAT consumers are doing once they arrive at your website, but it tells us little about WHY they are making the choices they are, or what they will do in the future.

To know that valuable information, it is necessary for brands to zero in on the “small data.”

Focus in on the Details

Realizing the importance of the enhanced personal customer experience and the emotional connection a great transaction creates is the key to grabbing and keeping today’s consumer. The Forester Consulting study demonstrates that utilizing small data gleaned from a potential customers values, behaviors, likes, and dislikes is the best indicator of future performance, and the best way to establish long-term results for your brand.

For brands fighting for real estate and relevancy, it’s vital that no opportunity to engage and retain consumers be left behind. And by understanding a “customer’s truth”, you can ensure positive encounters are had through every interaction and deliver a positive experience from all brand touchpoints.