Automating Emotions: How Marketing Automation Boosts Emotional Marketing

With emotional marketing being on the rise as one of the new trends, it’s essential to define and understand what it means and what it does for a company. Whether the customer realizes it or not, emotion plays a massive role in what people buy and the decisions that lead up to a purchase.

We like to think that the concept of buying an item, as stated in many marketing guides, is as clean-cut as answering a “demand.” Because there is a “need,” a company responds by filling it. But there are “needs” and “wants,” the latter of which refer to items that a customer doesn’t strictly require for a specific concern, but want nevertheless because they are driven by an emotional desire to possess it. Emotional marketing appeals to this desire, which could be induced by peer pressure, fear of missing out, or being influenced by someone endorsing it whom they trust and believe in. These three factors, among a myriad of others, are what emotional marketing seeks to trigger to convince a customer to purchase a service or a product.

Before moving on to the automation of it, we have to define what emotional marketing does.

Straight from the Heart: Emotional Marketing as a Tactic

There are multiple methodologies in online marketing; these can range from retargeting to inbound marketing. Marketing methods get implemented from the moment the brand gets conceptualized to when the website is being built, designed, and strategized. But strategies don’t have to apply to just one.

Emotional marketing is one of the many techniques employed by companies, particularly by ones in retail, because this method is how you get customers to buy things that they don’t strictly need. It’s crucial for companies trying to understand how customers make their purchases to understand what drives a person to click the “buy” button.

Emotional marketing plays not just into buying something as a “need,” but also impulse purchases and buying something just because it seems covetable. Love, envy, pride, entertainment, vanity—all these things can drive a customer to purchase an item. This is also one of the reasons why influencers have become such a popular marketing strategy for many companies trying to gain a foothold. When someone a customer base looks up to, or is influenced by, makes a purchase and gives it a glowing review, everyone else will want to buy it too.

It’s a form of harnessing the customers’ emotional intelligence or EI. Our emotional intelligence is a measurement of our ability to understand moods and impulses, and traces our pattern of behavior when given set triggers. Through EI, marketers can learn the thought process and emotional investment customers have on making a purchase. Questions such as:

  • What makes a customer look for a company or a product?
  • What pleasure will a customer receive if they purchase or use the service or the product?
  • What are the emotional factors that influence a customer to make the purchase?
  • Will the product be able to satisfy those needs?

Because this form of marketing is so effective, innovative marketers are now looking to approach it from different methods. One of them is through automation, which is another major trend in marketing.

Roll Out: The Shift Towards Automation

There is a clear and definite shift towards marketing automation in recent years. The idea of automation itself has begun to permeate every sector of IT and business. So, it’s no surprise that the marketing industry has thrown itself headfirst into taking advantage of it. Marketing industries are now looking into how automation can be used in various ways. The technique is seen as a reliable process to increase ROI, particularly in the coming years. Automation typically cuts out a lot of the red tape involved in content management, email marketing, lead filtering, and even for different digital marketing techniques.

Simply defined, marketing automation is about automating the process of marketing to individuals or groups of people, depending on their interests and interactions. Click To Tweet It showcases a better understanding of the customers’ wants or needs, with more efficiency and better conversion. Typically, the software is used by a company to organize and classify its marketing efforts accurately. Automation and marketing automation is now growing dramatically throughout the field.

But does it work? The numbers assuredly say so:

  • An average of 51% of companies are making use of marketing automation. The other 58% are planning on adopting the technology.
  • The US Marketing Automation Software industry is experiencing a vast windfall: the industry was a $6.1 billion market as of last year, and only growing stronger.
  • Also, 75% of marketers throughout the country employ the use of at least one type of marketing automation tool that is available, with 67% of marketing leaders using an automation platform.
  • A business that makes use of marketing automation has seen a definite increase in qualified leads: approximately 451% at that, which is a tremendous increase.
  • Invespcro’s recent survey also revealed that 63% of the survey participants (marketing industry personnel and executives) plan to increase their marketing automation budget.
  • It seems as though the industry is undoubtedly getting interested as well. The number of Google searches for the term “marketing automation” has increased dramatically. Weekly averages have tripled over the past five years.
  • And more than just getting interested in it: the industry is getting invested in it. Instapages’ survey revealed that 91% of their surveyed marketers have come to rely heavily upon marketing automation, calling it crucial to their strategy’s success.
  • The effect is considerable. 44% of companies that have embraced marketing automation have felt the significant increase in ROI in as little as six months, while the other 76% experience it within the first year.
  • For the marketers themselves, they seek out the most effective tools for the job to make the most of marketing automation’s benefits. 91% of them said that they prefer a tool that allows them to review and analyze customer marketing data, especially if that software can give them that data in real-time.

The future of marketing automation continues to grow. In fact, according to Forrester, market spending on automation tools is expected to balloon, and by 2023, it’ll be up to $25.1 billion annually. There’s simply no stopping its growth and how it’s spread throughout the marketing field. So, it’s only natural that it’s also being employed for emotional marketing.

How Marketing Automation Boosts Emotional Marketing

Mind and the Heart: Marketing Automation Driven by Psychology

One of the most effective ways to unify the effectiveness of marketing automation with emotional marketing? Making sure that the strategy is based on practices in psychology. Remember that feedback loops drive marketing automation. Take into account how your customer thinks. One example: customers can be incredibly sensitive to the hard-sell.

Bombarding them will cause them to reject the campaign further. Paying close attention to spam complaints, feedback during unsubscribing, and whatever your customers are telling you will allow you to put a marketing automation strategy that will be better suited to appeal to your target market. Ask yourself how a customer might receive every action. Empathy goes a long way here.

Ramp Up Your EI

As stated in the earlier sections, emotional intelligence can be a primary key in determining what works for your target market and even individual customers. It’s not just about marketing to them; it’s about finding out what makes them tick, what gets them going, and being able to identify the satisfaction that they are looking for out of a product or a service.

This means that you, as the marketer or the campaign head, must develop higher emotional intelligence to come up with effective emotional marketing strategies. That means learning how to manage negative emotions (if customers unsubscribe or react badly to certain marketing aspects, you shouldn’t take this too much to heart). 

Being mindful of one’s wording can also have a significant effect on the campaign (Don’t load the copy with technical jargon. Make sure it’s easy for the customer to understand). Practicing empathy is also a significant contributing factor in developing EI. Remember always to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask yourself: if you saw this product, what would make you want it?

Hair-Trigger: Use Automated Marketing with Specialized Triggers

Trigger marketing is a technique wherein particular “triggers” will send messages or notifications to users during a specific moment, or in answer to an act or event. Specific user actions or events during the process get turned into triggers to provide a customized experience for individual users. This also includes customized replies depending on their demographic according to specific categories. It heightens their customer experience, giving them the sense that they are getting attended to personally. Automation is a vital part of trigger marketing, and many companies use specialized marketing automation tools to send actions to these triggers.

Emotional marketing plays into trigger marketing by customizing the triggers to drive customer feelings. Are customers displaying loyalty, often returning to purchase? Click To Tweet You can offer a reward such as a unique promo code for them to use, which is sent to their emails following a certain number of purchases. 

Has their history through the site expressed interest in specific products? Alert them when their preferred item is on sale. Tie in a trigger to weather reports and immediately send an alert in case deliveries or service would be unavailable due to weather. All these things play into a customized, comfortable experience for a customer.

The Buck Stops Here: Target the Decision-Maker

Marketing automation gains the most ROI when it targets the decision-maker explicitly. Sometimes, the people who are most likely to purchase hesitate for a variety of reasons. It could be because the timing just isn’t right, or they perhaps aren’t entirely convinced. Automated systems can give prospective buyers that extra push needed to have them make the principal purchase. Having good emotional intelligence can allow you to determine what subtle moves or nuances are needed to coax a customer to hit “buy.”  

Remember, however, that just because you have managed to convince a customer to purchase, it is the end of the marketing process. On the contrary: now that you’ve found that this is a customer that makes the decision to purchase, you can proceed with methods to retain them. Emotional targeting through marketing should help you keep the customer, creating a lasting bond. If they continue to receive gratification and a sense of enjoyment from purchasing, they’re likely to keep doing it.

Making it Personal

Personalization is vital in emotional marketing. Canned emails don’t appeal to customers when they feel that they are just being spammed by the same cookie-cutter email as everyone else. Emotional marketing dictates that emails should be personalized and tailored to the specific customer. They won’t be hyper-specific, but automation can make sure that their names are in the header, that they receive a variant of the email targeted to their demographic (male or female, for example), and immediately there is a difference.

Using filters, blocks, and other vital information about the subscriber or the customer, actions can be automatically triggered in the process. It creates a more customized, specialized experience for the potential buyer. It allows them to feel more connected to the brand and what it’s trying to say, along with its products. There are even automation tools that would enable you to assign tags to specific clients (premium, VIP, for example), and you’ll be able to target them more precisely, according to what makes them want to buy or want to stay in your client base.

Brands that Get it Done

Consider the brands that have already made emotional marketing and marketing automation work for them. Nike is one of the world’s leading brands for a reason: they know how to appeal to their audience and how to get them to make the purchase.

They target the customers’ sense of self-worth and confidence, linking it to their product. In one of their marketing campaigns, they featured Middle Eastern women. This demographic is often seen as bound by rules and restricted. But their campaign, titled “What will they say about you?” showcases the women, clad in Nike apparel, confidently partaking in sport, fearless in the face of judgment, and confident in their stance. This appeals to women and their sense of independence, freedom to be themselves, and excel even in adversity. It makes them want to buy the gear because Nike “gets” them.

The company doesn’t have to be global to reap the rewards. Small companies stand to gain more through emotional marketing and automation. Zurb, for example, implemented automated marketing to dispatch carefully tailored welcome emails to new sign-ups immediately, so the new users know that they are appreciated. 


Doggyloot, a dog-treats company, also uses automation to prompt users with an email if they had forgotten something in their carts and did not check out of the website. It subtly nudges the customer to finish the purchase.


Emotion is a powerful tool. That’s why there’s always the debate of heart over mind. By using emotional marketing to appeal to the customer’s needs truly, wants, and aspirations, they are more likely to be swayed to purchase or to avail of a service. And combined with marketing automation, you can provide that experience to thousands of different customers. It’s a two-pronged attack that appeals to customers no matter what their demographic is, and makes the process so much simpler for companies looking to increase their ROI.

What methods do you feel would be most effective in appealing to your customer base? Does your company employ automation tools and utilize them with emotional marketing? Sound off in the comments below and tell us your experience.

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