Brief Answers to Big Questions: Should Your Marketing Appeal to the Head or the Heart?

Published: July 31, 2023

One of the big questions in marketing is whether your material should target people’s rational side—the one that reacts to facts and figures—or their emotional side—the one that feels things on a deeper, subconscious level. So, what’s more effective?

As you might expect, the answer is BOTH.

To understand why that is, we have to understand how a customer makes a decision about how they spend their money. With the help of Brax, we can boil it down to five simple steps:

  1. They recognize a need.
  2. They gather options.
  3. They consider what solution fits them best. (This is where the heart/brain choice comes in.)
  4. They make a decision.
  5. They feel satisfied or dissatisfied, informing future decisions.

This is a cycle that repeats, informed by each decision a customer has made in the past, every time they see a need. Whether consciously or unconsciously, this process repeats, building on itself and becoming the opinion they form about your product or service, about your company and your brand, which, once established, is incredibly hard to change. So knowing whether to appeal to their logic or emotion is truly at the heart of whether or not your marketing is effective.

an unfinished rubik's cube

Letting Your Brain Drive

When reaching people logically, facts and figures rule the day. If you want to appeal to rational thinking, you’re going to have to do your research, present an easy-to-follow, logical explanation for why someone should give their hard earned money for whatever you are offering, and show them why it will pay off in the end.

The logical appeal works best when talking about the everyday things we do to make our lives easier. Investments, functional objects or services, security-based products, and even health decisions like fitness programs and healthcare options can benefit from this kind of marketing. Consider what you have to offer. What can you reveal about your product that a customer will see, consider, and decide will make a positive impact in their life?

hand handing a paper heart to another hand

Following Your Heart

In every marketing campaign, you want your customers to FEEL something. Reaching people emotionally sometimes feels like the holy grail of advertising. From clothing to perfume to vacations to services, if a customer’s heart can be spoken to, their head (and their dollars) will follow.

Many companies prey on consumers by making them feel envious, afraid, worried, or left out. We certainly aren’t fans of making people feel awful about themselves. There’s plenty of that going on in the world without resorting to it yourself. Instead, we like to help brands reach people where they are, show them comfort and love, make them laugh, and really try to convey how they’ll feel better in some way. Positive emotions will leave people feeling good about their purchases, feeling good about your brand, and feeling like they want to continue their relationship with you. We think that’s way better and more effective long term than trying to scare them into a purchase.

two doors to choose from, yellow or blue

Making a Choice

So, like your audience, you’re going to have to make a choice. Are you offering something that appeals more to the head or the heart? Should you lead with facts, prove how you can make someone’s life better, and make an appeal to the brain? Or should you aim for the heart, telling a story that makes people laugh, smile, or want to support your cause because it feels right?

It’s definitely not an easy decision, and we’re always available to talk about your options, see what approach might be better, and ideally, create a custom solution that appeals to both!