Making a lasting impression

Why emotions should be at the heart of data-driven marketing

Making a lasting impression

Man and woman at business meeting in cafe

Emotional connection is underrated

Making a good “first impression” is crucial to starting a new relationship positively. Within a fraction of a second, our brains decide how to respond to that first communication from someone we don’t know. So brands need to get customer communications right first time. If a consumer associates a brand with a negative interaction, it’ll be a challenge to change their mind.

Modern consumers want to feel recognised. They want to feel that a brand knows them, their interests and their needs and communicates with them accordingly as individuals. And it’s easy enough to access that information. Whenever someone interacts with a brand online, they leave behind a trail of personal data which helps us to understand how they operate.

As Colin Strong, Head of Behavioural Science at Ipsos, explored at Canon’s Future Promotion Forum in 2020, we’re all aware that the world is becoming more “datafied”, so it’s not the lack of data available that’s acting as a roadblock. However, brands can often struggle to understand how to best interpret data. So in a world where technology and data are seemingly the driving force behind marketing campaigns, how can brands make sure they get consumers’ attention and connect with them as individuals, not just as sales leads? The answer lies in making data-driven marketing more human.

Customers first. Data second.

Data provides marketers with a huge opportunity to gain real insights into consumers, but it does have its limitations if you don’t use it correctly. Yes, technology can help to gather data and report on patterns, but it can’t form an understanding of what the data might represent. That’s where human intervention is required.

In an interview with Print Power, Diana Lucaci, founder of neuroscience research firm True Impact, summed up why introducing the human element into your marketing is important: “Our paradigm has shifted: customers are more than data, they are human. If you’re trying to create a message that’s going to be loved in that first second, you need to understand how the brain works and how to elicit that emotion from the get-go.”

So to maximise impact and enhance a customer’s experience, it’s essential to interpret data to get to know the person behind it because, ultimately, each consumer will respond differently to a brand’s marketing efforts.

Looking beyond digital communications

With so much noise already across digital marketing channels, brands are looking for new ways to target their customers. And, although print can be interpreted as an old-fashioned medium, many brands are returning to this trusted form of communication to cut through, connect and inspire their customers.

Print doesn’t replace digital; it enhances it, just as digital enhances print. Its effectiveness is built on its ability to make consumers feel valued in a way that a digital communication rarely does. As we discussed in our recent article on print’s power of touch, print’s physical nature can stimulate the brain and spark an emotional reaction. Why? Because our emotions are linked to our senses and printed direct mail engages more senses than a simple digital e-shot.

And when print is combined with customer data to create a piece that is tailored to the recipient, that person feels more connected to the brand because time has been taken to understand the individual’s preferences and send a direct mail that is both relevant and timely. By doing so, the brand is enhancing the customer experience which, in turn, will boost recall and improve marketing ROI.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to put emotions at the heart of your data-driven marketing, watch Colin Strong’s Future Promotion Forum talk here.

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