The truth is that the odds are stacked against you. Most blue chip product launches fail despite access to the top advertising agencies and budgets.
The problem is that we don’t make logical buying decisions. Do you recall the Pepsi challenge? Most people who took the challenge said they preferred Pepsi but then continued to buy Coca-Cola. Outside of Pepsi Challenge, the emotional imagery of all those years of Coke advertising came into play; our brains voted emotional and made a decision to buy before our logical brain even knew.
A large part of this is due to dopamine. This is our brain’s pleasure chemical and it’s often associated with imitation. Have you ever seen some shoes which you thought were awful – Crocs, for example? However, you started seeing them everywhere. In an instant your view went from awful to ‘I want those’. Seeing a product over and over again makes it desirable. Why do you think teenagers all want to be celebrities? They want the life – it’s imitation at work.
Let’s say that it’s a slow evening and you’re surfing the net. Yes, you’re clicking ads and wasting someone’s budget, or maybe you’re an SEO type only looking for genuine businesses who are most relevant to you. You stumble on a site, and holy moley, those shoes are to die for. The brain’s pleasure chemicals jump into action flushing you with dopamine and pure pleasure. Then before you know it, those shoes are in the basket and card number has been punched in. Researchers agree that it will have taken 2.5 seconds to make that buying decision. Interestingly, your emotional brain makes the decision 7 seconds before the logical side knows.
A few minutes later, the euphoric feeling caused by the dopamine flush disappears and suddenly you wonder if you’ve done the right thing. Sound a little familiar?
It’s retail therapy. When dopamine flushes the brain, it fuels our need to keep shopping even when our rational side of the brain says we don’t have the money – my wife seems to particularly prone to dopamine flushes judging by our card receipts!
Professor David Laibson at Harvard University says “Our emotional brain wants to max out the card, even though our logical brain knows we should save for retirement”.
How does this train of thought apply to AdWords and SEO? From the moment a consumer makes a search, it’s vital that ads and search listing push the emotional hot buttons to excite the brain to ensure that consumers click your listing. But most websites fail to build on the excitement; they fail to create the dopamine rush. The pages are nothing more than product listings – where’s the excitement?
The clever SEO agencies create the dopamine rush, side-stepping any reservations about saving for retirement. It can be as simple as providing easy access to finance the product and make a dream come true, kick-starting that dopamine rush.
Marketing techniques such as surveys and eyeball tracking are finally been consigned to history. SEO, AdWords and Social Media agencies are slowly beginning to wake up to the new era of emotional marketing. Connecting with consumers’ ‘hot buttons’ is the future of online marketing and those embracing the change will leave behind price transparency and customer-claiming battles for the sake of ever-decreasing margins.