In 1956 a book written by Victor Schwab described forty driver based emotions which we as people want and that cause us to act. That was over 50 years ago and would you believe after all that time, some things never change?
It comes down to this. No matter how sophisticated our technology is, no matter how much we evolve, there are a number of basic needs and wants we all long for as people. Whether they make us feel complete, happy, fulfilled, comfortable, or any other combination of feelings, these emotional drivers often become the foundation for our actions.
As I see it, in the simplest form consumers buy to fulfill either a need or want. Needing and wanting, although slightly similar, are actually quite different if you look at the true emotional driver behind the word.
Consumers that buy based on need are typically filling a void for something that is a necessity rather than anything else. Needing something usually indicates more than a desire. It represents a functional reason why they must buy.
For example, a consumer needs to buy a new tire for their car when the current tire has gone flat. This is a need—the car will not run properly without the tire. Sure, they would rather spend their money on a want (like a vacation or heated seats) yet the problem with the tire causes them to buy based on need first.
Wanting however is different and is often based on desire. Consumers who buy based on want are usually buying with leisure in mind (whether they know it or not.) Wanting often indicates a “non-need” yet something that will make their life easier or more enjoyable.
For example, a consumer who adds heated seats to their car is buying based on want not need. Having heated seats in a car makes the ride much more enjoyable on those cold commuter days yet it does not necessarily fulfill a functional role (the car will still run without heated seats.) The consumer is buying based on a want that will add comfort to their driving experience.
In some cases, having heated seats might make a driver feel as though they have gained some status in life. Not all cars have heated seats, and to add that could be seen as higher class.
Knowing some of what drives consumer emotions can help us better write product descriptions which speak to them. Considering how their emotions drive their buying habits, we can develop a list of product benefits which address the various areas.
Having said that, here are a few of Schwab’s drivers that I think might be particularly beneficial for consumer (B2C) type marketing.
People want to gain:
They want to save:
They want to be:
“First” in things
Proud of their possessions
Influential over others (as seen in the submission of product ratings)
They want to:
Express their personalities
Improve themselves generally
Consider these when writing your next product description and aim to develop a benefit list which addresses those you feel fit your product type.
Today I went to the post office to check the mailbox and found a nice albeit unexpected surprise waiting for me.
Let me briefly set the stage. I write and contribute a number of monthly articles for both online and offline publishers and have been doing this for sometime now. One of those online publishers EzineArticles.com knows a little something about customer appreciation.
I get to the post office and along with the other mail I find a small square box with the Ezine Articles logo on the outside. My curiosity is piqued by now and I’m wondering what I ordered?
I open the box and to my surprise I see a nice coffee mug, a bag of coffee, and a note thanking me for being a part of the community and contributing to Ezine Articles.
Ecommerce store owners take note—this type of pro-active customer interaction works! I’m not saying you have to send free gifts to all your customers, but I have said in previous posts that a simple and unexpected hand written note or “bonus” here and there won’t hurt. It builds loyal customers not to mention happy customers.
Not that I needed it to keep writing for them, but it certainly cemented my relationship with Ezine Articles.
Do you reward or surprise your customers? If so how? If not, why? Part of customer retention is keeping your current customers happy. What would happen if you sent an unexpected gift to your current top customers? I’m sure the impact of that small gesture would reach far beyond what you think.
Just look at this case, EzineArticles.com probably had no intention of getting mentioned for their efforts. But their simple gesture of appreciation did just that.
I touched upon site search quite a while back in a previous post of mine titled How to Read Your Visitors Minds with 100% Accuracy. In that post I went into detail on how you can use site search to understand what your customers want.
I found this video from the folks over at Google and think it’s a nice extension to that post. The video takes the concept I presented earlier a step further and applies that to improving your pay per click advertising conversion.
Now, I’m not saying that this method is the best way to go to improve your ROAS (Return on Advertising Spend). It’s a nice way of researching and gathering more information about what keywords you might want to consider (or combinations thereof) but don’t use it as the end all be all.
For example, in the video we see that one of the top search queries recorded was “shirt”. I would never buy a word like this alone as it is too broad—even if you do sell shirts. I would consider (if you are not already doing it) however, bidding on something like “blue short sleeved oxford shirt” (as an example).
I believe that using site search as a research tool for your business is extremely smart. It opens the doors to your customers mindset. I saying this, I also think it can come in handy for determining how you might want to consider expanding your current paid search campaigns. Just be careful you do your homework after you gather the data to ensure the words you choose provide the best opportunity at achieving a positive ROI.