Reprinted from Strategies newsletter, DMA Issue, © November 2000 by First Marketing, 3300 Gateway Drive, Pompano Beach, FL 33069.

Come on, get happy ó
Reap the rewards of emotion marketing

An interesting and popular session at the DMA conference featured Emotion Marketing ó The new paradigm in CRM. This panel discussion was presented by Scott Robinette of Hallmark Loyalty Marketing Group, Claire Brand of Hallmark Keepsakes, and Vicki Lenz of Emphasis on Customers! as a series of case studies.

The presenters explained that while every company has a different value proposition for their audience, all customers share the same basic human needs. A customerís decision to buy may be partly fueled by these needs. Emotion marketing is about getting the customer to connect a purchase to something deeper than purely rational elements.

Tugging at the heart strings

If a company embraces a sustainable connection that makes its audience feel valued and cared for, those customers will go out of their way to be loyal.

The following figures touting the effectiveness of emotion marketing were shared by the presenters:

* In the telecommunications industry, a 9% to 15% decrease in churn was attributed to emotion marketing.
* In the healthcare industry, the cost-per-lead dropped 40% below the forecasted amount.
* A 235% increase in referrals occurred within the insurance industry.

You can see how some companies are clearly using emotion marketing in their advertising. For example, DeBeers diamonds are timeless and a "diamond is forever." MasterCard creates experiences with its "Priceless" campaign. And Michelin tires touts safety "Because so much is riding on your tires."

Is loyalty declining?

Increased customer loyalty is often proclaimed the single long-term driver of profitability. What is interesting is that 83% of customers really want to be loyal, while only 17% prefer to shop around. Some reasons customers prefer to be loyal include:

- saves time and money
- often get a more customized solution
- better service and personalized attention
- avoidance of change
- enjoyment in feeling accepted and appreciated by the company

According to the panel, loyalty declines because existing customers often feel like a number, while new customers get the better deals through fabulous introductory offers. Loyal customers get abused with poor service. High tech has replaced high touch.

Show them you care

Four key variables predict a customerís loyalty: caring, trust, length of patronage and overall satisfaction. A customerís perception that the company cares about them (or not) is twice as significant as any of the other three variables. Satisfaction alone doesnít guarantee loyalty. However, the strong impression of caring by the company is the bridge that can transform satisfied customers into loyal ones. Caring can be expressed and communicated through emotion marketing, but not on a one-time basis. And before gearing up an emotion-focused approach, marketers should first confirm that the way the company sees itself is the same way customers do. How the company delivers on its promise to customers affects image.

In order to work, the panel insists that emotion marketing needs to be an enterprisewide effort. First Marketing would add that it must be supported by an ongoing commitment to customer communication as an essential to conveying to customers that you care. Emotion that links inward motives with outward behavior can be more powerful than reason in driving consumer purchase behavior.

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