A great marketer knows differentiation leads to market leadership. What kills way too many great consumer tech products is the struggle to find the right messaging before competition beat them at seizing the market.
Increasingly, the rat race in the competitive tech consumer product market is not about finding deep enough pains worth solving. Rather, claiming market leadership starts with effectively speaking to the heart and mind of your target users about just how deeply and precisely you understand their pains & desires.
To do so, an up-and-coming brand needs strong messaging in your go-to-market strategy. When it comes to brand-to-consumer communication, the need for differentiation is painfully felt in the overwhelming digital space. With 5.3 trillion display ads shown online each year, 400 million tweets sent daily, 144,000 hours of YouTube video uploaded daily, and 4.75 billion pieces of content shared on Facebook every day, mediocre messaging will easily get drawn out like a needle in a haystack. Messaging is important -- it's why some companies devote entire strategies just for Whatsapp (you can too).
So why do certain marketing messagse strike a chord with consumers and immediately go viral, while the majority just gets forgotten in the bottomless pit that is the internet? A key component for messaging success is eliciting emotion. According to this research paper on HBR, these 5 emotions are most commonly found in viral marketing content:
Think about the last time you clicked on a headline, or opened an e-newsletter, or gazed longer than you thought at a flyer, were you delighted by what you saw? Or intrigued to find out more? Or excited by the potential outcome?
Successful marketing provokes strong emotions.
Some classical examples of emotional arousal through marketing include:
- De Beers’ “A Diamond is Forever” campaign created a market for diamonds that didn’t existed before at a time of economic depression and restrained consumer spending by attaching meaningful emotions to diamond as a symbol for love.
- The Marlboro Man, establishing Marlboro was the ultimate embodiment of enigmatic masculinity at a time when tobacco was seen as demoralizing and detrimental to health.
- Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign celebrates women of all shapes, sizes and colors, addressing the increasingly sensitive body image issue in lifestyle marketing by creating positive emotional association with the brand. Since it’ launch 10 years ago, Dove has seen a revenue climb from $2.5bn to $4bn.
I had helped the team of Call Levels, a fast growing FinTech startup, to find out what kind of emotions target users respond to the most through different Search Ad headlines. The key is to test out both external foes and internal gains, positive and negative emotions. For this exercise I work with team to craft out a number of headlines - positive emotions including professional, social and personal wins, negative emotions such as fear of losing out, anxiety, professional loss etc.
Interestingly, in this particular consumer segment (traders & bankers), fear and anxiety are the emotions consumers resonate strongest with, seeing a much higher conversion rate than other headlines:
- “Markets Driving You Crazy?” had the highest click rate at 9.78%
- “Losing Sleep Over Trades?” had the 2nd highest click rate at 9.50%
- “Forex Trader’s Best Friend” had the 3rd highest click rate at 9.14%
In comparison, a product feature centric headline like “Easy to Use Finance App” performed very average in engagement. The emotive headline successfully validated our assumption about product Value Proposition: that users of Call Levels app are suffering from chronic professional anxiety - day traders and bankers who neurotically check their monitors and phones nonstop in fear of missing out on a million-dollar trade - and the app relieves this pain by giving them real-time access to the critical information that helps them make the right investment choice.
The emotional message behind the ad headlines was a powerful tool of speaking to consumers that we deeply understand their struggle, and have just the right solution for it.