Emotions and Logic in Consumerism

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Emotions and Logic in Consumerism

Consumer purchase decisions are often linked to emotions and can lead to impulse and uninformed buying behavior. This creates a problem for marketers who rely on emotional appeals to increase sales. In order for businesses to grow in today’s economy, they must acquire new customers and at the same time retain the old ones. Research indicates that in order for advertising to be most effective in acquiring and retaining new customers, these emotions must also be linked to logic. This paper examines how marketers are using emotions and logic to generate the most sales and retain more customers.

Emotions and Logic in Consumerism
Advertising can be seen in virtually every aspect of our lives, and is almost inescapable. We encounter it on billboards, radio, every internet site, magazines, cell phone applications, clothing, television, restrooms, gas pumps, and many more sites. This year in the United States, Black Friday sales hit over $1 billion in online sales. The average cost for a 30 second time slot for a Super Bowl commercial was $3.5 million, according to USA Today. Psychologists, marketers and business people worldwide are interested in why consumers consume. What is the driving force behind why someone will spend so much more money on Black Friday as opposed to other days out of the year? And how can a business better exploit these consumers in order to make more money? With so much money involved in our consumption habits, and so much money involved in getting these advertisements, it is no wonder there is also a lot of money being put into the study of how to make these ads more effective.

This is a hot topic in the marketplace today because there is so much money involved. Businesses are trying to discover the real reason behind why people buy, and they are willing to pay a lot of money to find that answer. It would seem obvious that if they were willing to pay $3.5 million for thirty seconds, they would have some other money set aside to research how effective these ads are. This is of utmost import to businesses worldwide and is a top priority.

The first purpose of advertising is to create awareness of a product, idea or brand (Woodside, Megehee & Sood, 2012). There are many different methods to get this done, but it is only effective if it leads to the eventual sale. For any business to survive, it needs sales, because sales generate revenue. This revenue is taken and invested back into company, part of which goes towards their advertising efforts. It is a continuous cycle that successful and growing businesses should see expanding (Knutson et. al., 2003). In addition to convincing a consumer to make a purchase, successful businesses must also keep those customers happy. This is called retention. Retention is key to helping a business grow, because if they cannot retain their old customers, they will always have to put money into finding new customers instead of building on current relationships and strengthening them. This is often achieved through loyalty programs, which incentivize consumers to stay loyal to a brand or product (Woodside, Megehee & Sood, 2012). Thus we see that the goals of effective advertisements are three-fold: create awareness, generate sales, and retain current customers.

Currently, research is being conducted as to what types of advertisements are most effective in achieving the three goals of an effective ad. They have found that this is most often achieved when advertisements appeal to a consumer’s emotions (d’Astous & Legendre, 2009). This can be pleasant emotions, such as fondness, humor, childhood memories, or happiness overall. It can also be geared toward more negative emotions such as fear, indignation, or self-deprecation (Janakiraman & Niraj, 2011). Emotions are powerful feelings that tend to guide us toward our consumer decisions in one way or another (Knutson et. al., 2003)....
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