The world is awash with messages such as:

“We’ve launched this revolutionary new product…”

“Our team is great and looking forward to helping you…”

“Our customer service is the best in the business…”

“We are great look at us…”

Blah, blah blah

Especially in social media where anyone can broadcast any old drivel to the world. What the businesses behind them fail to realise is that people don’t care. Although we’d like to think they do, they don’t. They care about themselves and satisfying whatever emotional need(s) they currently have. So the only question you should be asking yourself when looking at your content strategy, marketing messages, product development or customer service is

“Does this satisfy my customers emotional need?”

This should drive your marketing strategy and especially your content strategy.

Here’s an example: buying the early versions of the Apple phone wasn’t about the phone. It was so they (the purchaser) could get the satisfaction of friends/colleagues/clients thinking they are cool/rich/trendy. Because they had an emotional need for that. They don’t care about Apple as a company they care only if the company gives them the emotional satisfaction they need which is to make them look cool/rich/trendy.

It’s something that many luxury brands (and Apple) understand very well but is applicable to all purchases from toilet roll to airplane components.

The easiest way to begin to understand your customers’ emotions is to talk to them. Surprisingly this isn’t done as often as you may think. I don’t mean in the general day to day activities of serving them, “we talk to customers every day”, because it doesn’t count unless you start understanding the stories behind WHY they are buying from you. This is where it gets trickier as purchasers tend to buy with emotion and then post rationalize it based on ‘logical’ arguments. Following on from the example above if you ask them why they bought the Apple phone they will list technical features, maybe price, all of which they have considered as a way to justify the purchase after sale. They won’t say “because it makes me look cool”. You need to delve beyond this post rationalization to really understand the emotional drivers. These drivers should be front and centre on any personas you develop.

The point is they are not interested in you or your products or services unless it fulfills an emotional need for them at that time. So when you are next crafting that great story about your company’s technological prowess, or you’re planning your content strategy, ask yourself if your customer really cares about it. Because they probably won’t. Not unless the story aligns with what they want to get out of it at that stage of their journey. For example, if someone is deciding on taking on a new contractor does your story about your technological prowess align with their emotional need to work with a safe pair of hands so they don’t lose their job if it goes wrong, which is what really drives them.

So get out all your marketing materials and ask some hard questions about them “Will a prospect/customer really care about this?”, “Does it talk to their emotions first and foremost?”

Businesses that win understand that they have to provide emotional satisfaction for their customers to care at all, and then it will still only be about themselves.