How Customers Choose

Are Your Messages Logical?

David Ogilvy said, “Consumers don’t think how they feel, say what they think or do what they say.”

Myth: Children make irrational and emotional decisions, but after maturity and a good education, they are much more logical.

Truth: David Ogilvy’s statement holds true for educated consumers or professional buyers, including attorneys, accountants, physicians and rocket scientists. Your customer’s preferences are governed by shortcut thinking (not logical analysis). Automatic mental habits determine whether your product is loved or ignored.

It’s the Context, Silly!

Mental shortcuts are triggered based upon the context. For consumers we have labels like occasion, job-to-be-done, or need state. Humans change their buying behavior based upon the circumstances. But it’s a trap to assume when a person is at work (different context), they are more logical, scientific and rational! Professional buyers have all the lingo of rationality, but still make their choices the human way!

Three Drivers of Choice

All product choices (whether consumers or B2B buyers) are made with three parts of the mind: rational, emotional, unconscious. Too much marketing and research focuses on a fraction of what causes your customer to choose your product.

The most influential parts of your customer’s thinking have been nicknamed “System 1” by behavioral economists. Marketers can trigger System 1 intentionally to gain customer attention and desire!

Consumer Choice & Science

Emotional and unconscious habits are like an autopilot. Consumers are unaware of this automatic mental choice-making activity, even though it dominates their decisions. Researchers must be able to identify what consumers don’t know themselves!

Science has changed the formula for marketers. The new formula is emotion first. Logical product benefits are still important, but for your rational arguments to be believed, they must address the emotional, unconscious autopilot first. Rational, emotional, unconscious: all three work together.

Specific contextual memories trigger product choices. These sticky experiences and their emotions act as motivators and create favoritism for one product over another. It is the emotional context in the customer’s life, not the product that matters most.

Tell Your Story

Your story is your engine for value. Your story points the strongest emotions in the right direction. Humans place all meaning and value within a narrative. (Stories that capture attention are about people, not things.) When a good story creates meaning, it happens so quickly and unconsciously your customer is unaware of its profound influence.

As a marketer, you win when you use authentic emotions within a story to trigger unconscious, emotional favoritism for your product.

Clevenger Associates reveals the Whole Mind of the consumer.