By: Lisa Solomon
On a recent Jenna Kutcher’s Goal Digger Podcast, Jenna and her coach, Dean Graziosi discuss how Jenna can scale her already very successful business. Jenna shares that the majority of her marketing communications are based on possibility; her message is always positive and encouraging so that people can be inspired to try to reach for something bigger in their life. Dean suggests that motivating people with positive emotional messaging only reaches half of your possible audience. One must consider the other perspective: people who are motivated by negative emotional messaging and fear.
Dean describes this as a “carrot and stick situation”. If you are a “stick” person, you’re afraid of going backward. You’re afraid of what’s behind you or what you are missing and that is what’s pushing you forward. A “carrot” person is motivated by possibility. You could get that carrot, whatever that carrot might represent (more time, more money, a bigger house, a better job).
All human behavior at its root is driven by the need to avoid pain and the desire to gain pleasure, so if your advertising message is created to motivate people to gain pleasure, we miss the ones that are motivated to avoid pain. What psychologists call “the negativity bias” suggests that as humans, we do more to avoid pain than we do to gain pleasure. Taking this into consideration, does our marketing message need to be a “carrot” or “stick,” or can it be both?
While our bias at Atheneum Collective is to motivate through inspiration, we realize that we can build our message to incorporate both. As we analyze our target audience and we uncover the customer journey, we can help associate the “carrots” and the “sticks” that impede or help the journey. If we want our customers to go from A – Z and get to Z as quickly as possible, we can’t ignore the pain and obstacles. However, we can also show them how we can make that journey as easy and painless as possible. It is vital that we embrace all the emotions along the way.
A great resource for understanding this dynamic is Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions. There are eight basic emotions: joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, anticipation, anger, and disgust. As you develop your marketing goals and plans, you must dig deep and define precisely what feeling you’re aiming to elicit. This will influence the details of your marketing — copywriting, media, graphics choices, etc. — and help it be as effective as possible.
What motivates you? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.