Is Your Event Marketing Strategy Hitting The Right Emotions?

May 17, 2016

Is Your Event Marketing Strategy Hitting The Right Emotions?

Emotions in event planning

Have you ever thought what is the single most consistent factor that guides our daily lives, no matter what we do?  As individuals we are emotional beings and no matter how much we may refrain, ultimately, our decisions are guided if not completely reliant on how we feel. Here we will talk about the 6 most potent emotions usually seen driving the decision of event attendees and how event marketers can use the same for their benefit.

In one of our previous posts, we spoke about how the shift in trend has brought to light the importance of H2H in place of B2B or B2C marketing. Along the same lines, we will be discussing the major roles human emotions play when it comes to generating leads in events. Event marketers and industry professionals would have you believe that business decisions are based on rational analysis. These apparently seem to have nothing to do with something as irrational as human emotions.

However, Peter Noel Murray, author of Inside the Consumer Mind, a member of the American Psychological Association and The Society for Consumer Psychology, states that in reality emotions have a powerful influence when it comes to determining final decisions.  While logic is the driving force behind an individual’s thought process, it is their emotions, led by aspirations and desires, that ultimately drive their actions. Now let us look at the scenario of business purchase decision making. There are 5 main stages involved in purchase decisions as follows:

  • Need
  • Gathering information
  • Evaluation of alternatives
  • Purchase
  • Post purchase evaluation

The length of these stages depends on how valuable the purchase decision is.  Enterprise decision making takes the longest since the process is complex and includes collective decision-making processes. While external factors such as organization policies and PESTLE characteristics have a major influence on buyer decisions, the main attributes are still brought down to the consumer’s emotions.

When it comes to events, a proficient marketer will know which emotions need to be targeted for successful lead generation and purchase. As stated by sales expert Geoffrey James, there are 6 major emotions that interplay buyer decisions. It is thus important to be aware of which emotion resonates best with the target audience so that it may closely reflect the proposition being offered by your event. At the same time, it is equally important to figure out the points of motivation that will attract most attendees to your events.  Let us take a look at how it can be done best:

Greed: “If I make a decision now, I will be rewarded.”

The word greed does not have to mean negativity unlike the popular belief it poses. Greed can also be looked upon as the zeal that often associates itself with competition. It is quite possible that many of your attendees are more or less motivated by the quotient of greed. In that case, it is important to emphasize on their personal benefits on attending your events, highlight the ROI, and don’t forget to share success stories of previous or present customers who have managed to earn professional consideration through your event.

Fear: “If I don’t make a decision now, I’m toast.”

As stated in McGregor’s theory X, fear is a very important motivational factor.  If fear of being left behind is what reigns best, then it is more prudent to focus on the cost of the prospective attendee’s inaction. The psychological bent towards loss aversion is high enough to make people take stand for the thing they believe will help them avoid the loss at any cost.

Altruism. “If I make a decision now, I will help others.”

In event marketing, altruism is probably the most difficult emotion to play upon. However, it is not altogether impossible. It can be introduced as the benefits that attending the event can bring to the company, employees or partners.  The attendees need to envision the greater good associated with attending the event. The focus can be on network expansion or you can highlight their profile with the help of a special networking session. This will be an added advantage to the audience numbers and will equally reflect on your future events as well.

Envy: “My absence will benefit my competitors.”

Envy, which in the corporate world is once again cleverly masked as competition, is probably the easiest emotion to target.  As an event marketer, you can simply need to share with the prospective attendees the list of their competitors who may be part of the event or has been benefitted in the past. This is enough to have their attention and lure them in search of the same or better benefits.  If this is not an option then it is equally beneficial to drive home the fact that the absence of the prospects may not harm them but it will definitely benefit the competitors. Sharing industry reports is also a plus.  Nothing works better in competition than a bit of reverse psychology and FOMO.

Pride: “If I decide to go I will be perceived as important.”

 A Buyer Experience Survey conducted by IDC showed that prospects are generally egocentric have a tendency to concentrate on insights that are aligned with their roles, their challenges, and their present stages. Thus, it is important to channel the importance of your event offering towards eliminating their pain points. A research conducted by CEB found that individuals who perceived high identity in an offering were more likely to advocate for the product or service. In an article published by the Harvard Business Review, Brent Adamson, Karl Schmidt, and Anna Bird states that identity value of an offering, helps in improving attendee perspective about themselves, by boosting their pride. In the case of events, the identity value can be attained through an attendee’s presence which will help them win respect along with increasing their sense of community within the industry.

Shame: “My absence will look stupid”

Shame and pride can be cast as opposite sides of the same coin. The identity value of an attendee boosts their pride and sense of self-worth. However, this also makes them think, that it is less than smart to miss out on an opportunity that everyone else seems to be taking up on. The emotion of envy and shame also go hand in hand here.  The aspect that will not let a prospective attendee let their competitors have all the advantage from an event, will also work in making them think twice about missing it. Alluding to their absence in previous events might be a good strategy to get them on-board.

As much as the above emotions singularly help in driving attendee presence and event sales, collectively emotions can equally increase sponsorship sales.  This is known as passion branding. Considering the human factor in business, it ultimately goes without saying that people are known to fall easily in love with a brand because of the values they represent as compared to its usage. Thus, more and more organizations are harnessing the power of emotions and building very strong brands by partaking in event sponsorship as part of their marketing strategies. Thus for a more successful event, it is important to set the marketing strategy to focus on the right set of emotions to retrieve the maximum impact.

A New Yorker by heart, Varun heads the Enterprise Solutions & Delivery team at event2mobile and has been working on mobility solutions for more than a decade. Loves to cycle and has a penchant for events!

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