The art and science of customer persuasion

A reasoned argument can change minds. But emotion is what drives action.

Yet we are often unaware of the emotional forces that motivate us. We believe we make our decisions rationally, particularly big decisions. We say we'll list the pros and cons and evaluate them. But do we really? The decision to purchase a home can be affected by color -- or realtors wouldn't repaint their listed homes in neutrals. Hiring decisions are made based on an emotional connection with a job candidate -- and not tangible job performance -- far more often than managers realize.

Because we don't recognize our own emotional motivations, we marketers too often downplay the role of emotion when we ask for action from our customers.

Marketers can sometimes feel they are selling a commodity product and there's not much more to do besides provide the lowest price possible. But there are still many, many emotions at play in making a purchase decision -- even with commodities. The wise marketer will be aware and take advantage of all of them.

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