With all the digital channels available to you, you have a unique marketing opportunity. But chances are you’re not fully capitalizing on your customer engagement.


Many companies that invest in customer relationship management (CRM) solutions focus on improving their operational efficiencies. CRM enables companies to track or map the journeys of their customers.

The result is businesses quantify data.

But if the focus is limited to internal efficiencies, companies don’t take the insights for actionable steps to provide the best service to their customers.

Right, unfortunately we’re in an age of connected customers. Customers want personalized experiences and demand engagement with companies practically 24/7.

So what about getting maximum value from the data with quality information?

You must capture the key moments in customer emotions. That’s because all buying decisions are based on emotion, which necessitates qualitative research.

Things are not always as they seem. Shoppers can tell you they make buying decisions on rational thinking.

But customers don’t turn off their emotions. Their motivations to buy are based on value perceptions, which can subconsciously determined.

True, 18 percent of people base their buying decisions solely on price. But companies rarely survive by slashing prices to attract such undesirable customers.

For the other 82 percent, there are five motivating perceptions.

From the article, The 7 Steps to Higher Sales, the motivating perceptions include:

Employees, Spokespersons – 52 percent. The key characteristics are integrity, judgment, friendliness and knowledge. Remember, about 70 percent of your customers will buy elsewhere because they feel they’re being taken for granted by your employees. And customers normally will not tell you why they switched to your competitor.

Image of Company – 15 percent. They are concerned about the image of your company in the community. Cause-related marketing is a big plus in forging a positive image. So is cleanliness and good organization.

Quality of Product or Service Utility – 13 percent. The customer is asking the question – “What will this do for me?”

Convenience –12 percent. Customers like easy accessibility to do business with you. That includes your Web site, telephoning you, and the convenience of patronizing your business.

Price – 8 percent. Price is important, but it’s the least concern among the five value-motivating perceptions.

It’s also true demographics can be tricky.

You must capture the key moments in customer emotions.

For example, women can have different values than men, and young men to tend to buy status symbols to impress their friends. Meanwhile, women generally gravitate toward safety and security.

Here are six techniques to capitalize on customers’ feelings:

1. Join the bandwagon

Many shoppers want to belong to an organization they trust. That’s why countless Americans like Costco. They gladly pay an annual membership fee to join.

Costco has mastered the traditional marketing “join the bandwagon” approach.

It’s confirmed by the experience of American Express. For years, American Express was the only Costoc-branded credit card.

But in 2015, the box store chain fired American Express and hooked up with Visa. Guess which company is suffering a decrease in revenue as a result of the breakup? American Express is the loser.

2. Testimonials

Another traditional technique is the use of testimonials by celebrities or common, everyday people. It works well if consumers identify with the person giving the testimonial.

Additionally, businesses can’t afford to ignore another source of testimonials – the potential of online customer reviews.

3. Snob appeal

Some companies create a club-like atmosphere by implying shoppers can be special if they buy their products. There’s a term for it.

Not to be sarcastic but the enviable technique is called snob appeal. In this case, products are tied to what shoppers think of themselves and how they feel about other people. Those customers want to feel significant.

Merriam-Webster defines snob appeal as “qualities intended to appeal to a sense of snobbery in people and make them want to be part of or have something.”

The American Express card used to belong in that category. The card was once a mark of prestige for the company’s cardholders.

Other companies have successfully created such an appeal. For example, consider Apple with its iPhones, computers and smartwatches.

That’s also why expensive cars or even hybrid cars are appealing to some demographics.

4. Ideal self

In this case, customers want to feel that their purchases are from a company that cares about them. Companies can create such impressions with extraordinary customer service.

They can also create positive feelings by showing care about the communities they serve.

Related to creating such positive feelings in consumers, cause-related marketing works so well (cause-related marketing can increase sales by double digits).

Another way is to demonstrate your concern for the environment. You can achieve this by branding and selling your business as green.

5. Safety and security

When customers buy certain products, they want to feel security. They want to be certain they’re making the right buying decisions.

They don’t want to experience buyers’ remorse, in which they’ll regret their purchases. Companies capitalize on this emotion by offering guarantees. That’s why Nordstrom and Costco make it easy to return products.

6. Emotional state

Successful companies know that their customer can head different directions – either they’re happy or they have buyers’ remorse.

Obviously, the ideal situations are to have happy, content customers. Pleasant shopping experiences are utopia for both the customers and companies.

If customers experience happiness, they’ll be back.

But what if customers are having bad-hair days when they shop?

This is a challenge for making sales. Shoppers who are in bad moods will scrutinize products and services more than they ordinarily do.

In e-commerce, Web sites must load quickly and have superb carts.

In bricks-and-mortar, stores must be clean, organized. Employees must be pleasant, helpful. The best companies train their employees to say thank you.

Therefore, it behooves you to consider and understand shoppers’ emotions. If you do, you’ll be in a position to develop cost-effective strategies for stronger profits.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related strategies:

Marketing – Insights for Attracting Millennial Customers — Marketers from fast food to cars are struggling to understand an important demographic – 59 million young adults, aged 23 to 36, according to a published report. Other observers believe there are 80 million Millennials, but in a slightly narrower age group. Here’s how to attract them.

Tech Checklist to Provide the Best Customer Support — Ever wonder why big chains – from quick-service restaurants to electronic products – print invitations on sales receipts to entice customers to go the companies’ Web sites to comment online? They’re doing it for customer engagement. Businesses need insights on how they’re faring with customers.

Your Best Source for Business Advice: Your Customers — The new economy – with a highly competitive marketplace – is making it becoming harder and harder to for businesses to sustain growth. So customer engagement and word-of-mouth advertising have taken on an increasing importance.

13 Strategies to Keep and Attract Valued Customers — Have you experienced the agony of not enjoying the fruits of your labor? That includes not having enough time for projects, not enjoying life outside of your business, and worse – losing customers. You’re also losing opportunities for referral business. Here’s what to do.

“Our DNA is as a consumer company – for that individual customer who’s voting thumbs up or thumbs down. That’s who we think about. And we think that our job is to take responsibility for the complete user experience. And if it’s not up to par, it’s our fault, plain and simply.” 

-Steve Jobs


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.