People Buy Emotionally, then Justify Rationally

From the teenager girl buying her next cell phone at a mall to the CIO making a multi-million decision that will impact his company’s information platform, people make emotional decisions and justify them rationally.

Why have people grabbed over 50 million Motorola’s RAZR phones? style. Not because of its performance as a phone, ability to get multimedia content, or ease of use. It is cool  and it’s the gadget to have. Even Samsung this week launched a copy cat.

When we talk about mobile platforms for enterprises, people talk about “security” as a key factor in making purchase decisions. However, most of these people do not have a thorough understanding of what should be their security requirements and how each platform meets those requirements. Surely there are many people who do, my point is that many decisions are made based on perceptions and pre-conceived notions.

Most people who like technology feel very passionate and personal about the technology decisions they make. When I was in high school I was part of the Commodore 64 clan, and we tried many times to convince the people on the dark side (Apple II users) about the superiority of the Commodore machines.

In retrospect, I remember feeling a bit envious of some of the Apple’s  features, but my choice went far beyond a simple purchase. I still have a strong emotional attachment to Commodore that influenced my decisions and the recommendations I made. Quite frankly, I cannot say all the advice I gave to friends and customers (I used to own a computer reseller company) was completely unbiased and facts-based. but I am not the exception.

A CIO who is anti-Microsoft, for example, would be naturally predisposed to support Linux and see that platform as more secure and more cost effective. His feelings will be reassured every time he would read an article about a Microsoft patch, subconsciously ignoring the article on the other side of the page talking about Linux’s vulnerabilities. The same happens for a CIO who has been using Microsoft’s (or Sun’s or Oracle’s) platform successfully. It’s just human nature.

So how are you as a marketer optimizing your customer engagements for emotional impact?