Why Emotional Connection Trumps Big Data

For all of the decision-making benefits big data may provide, a message with a strong emotional connection is still the best solution.

As demonstrated in the recent presidential election, a simple statement that created an emotional connection with millions of voters undid big data analysis. You may be asking how did this happen and how was it misdiagnosed?

The answer is – people are unpredictable.

Establishing an emotional connection drives decision-making. Each of us has thousands of life experiences. These experiences become our decision-making DNA.

Once the emotional decision has been made, most of us call on our analytical or rational side to weigh the pros and cons of the original emotional decision.

This “due diligence,” if you will, helps us make a more informed decision based on our needs at that moment.

Big data’s illusion of predictability

Big data, on the other hand, employs statistical analysis that throws out the emotional connection aspect and relies on historical data gleaned from previous actions. This backwards-looking approach may help to predict future actions in a predictable world. However, we do not live in a predictable world. We live in a world of happenstance where we react to our environment in unpredictable ways.

The same is true for advertising and marketing. We can utilize marketing automation programs, re-marketing algorithms, and customer profiling to identify potential customers based on previous actions and interest. However, we cannot predict their future purchasing intentions because their circumstances may have changed or the forces that led them to consider the product or service offering have been altered and the solution presented is no longer relevant.

Where marketers are getting it wrong

Lots of CMO’s have become dependent on the falsehood of analytics. The measurement of the delivering of the message has become more important than creating the message that establishes an emotional connection with the customer. Emotional connections are hard to measure; number of emails opened is pretty easy to track. This variant of marketing behavior is the result of shortsighted corporate leadership that is not willing to invest in long-term brand building. As a result, most of the advertising being produced today is easily forgettable, lacks creativity, and is done on the cheap.

Leadership brands understand the power of making and keeping emotional connections with their customers. Obviously they are focused on growth and market share, but they also allocate the necessary resources and funds on a long-term basis to stay relevant in the eyes of their customers, knowing that when the need arises, their brand will be one of the first considered.

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