Emotional vs. Functional Marketing: When It’s Right

Much of branding has to do with tugging at people’s emotions in order to convert them. Whether it be B2B or B2C products or services, emotionally-charged marketing can be successful with customers.

That said, there is a time and place for emotional marketing.

Using emotional and/or functional marketing will depend on what drives a potential customer to convert into a purchasing customer. So ideally, research should drive the marketing strategy for a brand.

For example, a gear manufacturer would consider functional marketing over a perfume brand because their customers want better performance or outcomes… a machine that gets better quality power and less maintenance.

On the other hand, a luxury perfume label would emotionally market because their customers have higher emotionally-driven desires… wanting to be more attractive to others.

In addition, there are times when the combination of emotional and functional marketing can be great option.

For example, a phone service provider may highlight the benefit of strong signals no matter the location, allowing their customers the peace of mind to chat (phone, video, text) on the fly in case of an emergency.

Emotional Decision-Making

This means that an activity, task, or job is well done, which results in an emotional desire being met.

Functional Decision-making

This is an outcome completed well, which results in useful, or practical, tasks being met in a satisfactory way.

Combination decision-making

This is an outcome from an activity, task, or job completed well, which means that functional tasks and emotional desires are being met.

Types of decision-making criteria may vary depending on how complex your customer segments are. Be sure to do your research with potential or existing customers to learn how they accomplish their goals and which strategy would be best to satisfy them.

What do you think? When do you think it’s appropriate, or not appropriate, to use emotional marketing?

I would love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave your thoughts, comments, and feedback in the comments below.

~ Christine