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Emotional content to earn more attention

Author's avatar By Danyl Bosomworth 23 Aug, 2013
Essential Essential topic

If our audiences have less attention than a goldfish, it's important to push the right "hot buttons"

Did you know that the average attention span for a new idea, we page or piece of content is now only 8 seconds - compare that to a goldfish at 9 seconds. It’s pretty startling and when you observe your own behaviour, or mine at least, 8 seconds does feel like a short time. But it depends on the context, in this post, Dave Chaffey talks about a 2 second rule to get your message across as someone visits your site or social media outpost for the first time, comparing it to the 7 seconds we supposedly look at an outdoor billboard.

Rational vs Emotional Content

This got me thinking how so much content that we create does not take the huge lack of time into account. We write and create so much content. Of course there’s a time and place for the detail, our features need comparing, we believe, when a consumer is at purchase stage.

The Content Marketing Matrix

We’ve explored this with our content matrix, above. Here the aim is to aligh content types which leverage emotional and rational with awareness and purchase. It’s a useful graphic, though does still assume that we’re rational at point of purchase.

Of course, the shopping psychologists and experts, books such as Buy-ology and Why We Buy - will all tell you the science reveals two reasons as to why we buy - the rational reason and the real reason. It’s why cheap does not always win, why people smoke, drastically over-spend, and so on. The principle is that human purchase decisions are emotional, most certainly in the west where our needs are, for most people, more than met something explored by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs back in the 1940’s. I guess we human’s can easily construct logic, easily can post-rationalise.

Content Types by Buying Stage

The diagram above, from this Marketing Prof’s article, is great to take the Content Matrix to a deeper and detailed level. I like how the varying degree of logic is taken into account

Emotional wants vs needs

I don’t feel it’s safe to overstate logic in such a time starved. And the data, in this case by the IPA backs that up too - albeit advertising not content:

The IPA says

  • In ‘Marketing in the Era of Accountability’, the IPA proved that emotional ads were 94% more effective than rational or informative ads.
  • Creatively awarded campaigns are much more likely to be ‘emotional’ than ‘rational’ (44% vs. 19%).
  • Creative campaigns are 12 times more efficient at delivering business success. The more creatively awarded, the more effective.

Emotional content?
In short we’re talking about the different between ‘need’ and ‘want’. And I wonder, in a marketing world all content focussed, are many really getting this human, emotional element right? Where are all the examples, really? A client asked me this earlier this week and there aren’t that many. Here’s 4 that we can learn from:

“The 16 Marketing Hot Buttons” - Sell the dream

But how do you do it? We’re comfortable with models and frameworks that align content buyer journeys and consumer behaviours, we really like the 3S model here, and the notion of Storytelling for consumer engagement offers the the steps and process. But what do you make those content stories about - what’s the consumer insight to build the story on? This is where the idea of Marketing Hot Buttons comes in. Barry Feig’s ‘Hot Buttons’ idea is basically about standing on the same emotional footing as your customer, connecting through an emotional benefit, you find out what motivates and inspires and align your brand to that - you’re adding to your product through imagery and association by appealing to their self image. What struck me is that the 16 ‘buttons’ that marketers can ‘push’ to get people to buy are things that we do (or could do) with content generation. We can see the examples above do that to a tee. The top needs that Feig identifies are:

  • Control
  • Superiority
  • Discovery
  • Family values
  • Belonging
  • Fun
  • More time
  • The best
  • Self-achievement
  • Helping others
  • Reinventing oneself

There are an additional 5 in the book, which is a must-read, what do hot buttons does your consumer base have. How could you easily find out if you don’t know?
If you want content that connects, that engages and the deepest level to drive sale, then this has to be a great place to start for campaigns and content generation?

Author's avatar

By Danyl Bosomworth

Dan helped to co-found Smart Insights in 2010 and acted as Marketing Director until leaving in November 2014 to focus on his other role as Managing Director of First 10 Digital. His experience spans brand development and digital marketing, with roles both agency and client side for nearly 20 years. Creative, passionate and focussed, his goal is on commercial success whilst increasing brand equity through effective integration and remembering that marketing is about real people. Dan's interests and recent experience span digital strategy, social media, and eCRM. You can learn more about Dan's background here Linked In.

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