Read Part 1 of this post here.

Last time we left a highly emotional and resentful working mother named Katie. She had just about the worst kind of day imaginable… late to work, spilled coffee on her computer, had to leave work early to pick up a sick child. Then she cursed the local spa when she heard their radio spot for a rejuvenating treatment.

How do we explain her ranting and raving? After all, she should have been in a prime state of mind to hear about a relaxing and exhilarating spa escape, right? But instead she let go a verbal tirade against the spa for daring to present her with something she clearly had no time for.

As marketers, how do we explain this? First, let’s all agree that people buy on emotion. We may say we intend to make a logical purchase decision but in reality, it’s always based on emotion. (For example, crunching the numbers when buying a car or a house, or selecting a vendor for a business transaction based on price and favorable terms). In the end, it’s emotion that seals every deal.

In the consumer world, we buy the car because it serves our needs but also because of how it makes us feel. Same goes for a home, even a pair of shoes. In the b-to-b world, we contract with a particular vendor because we want more than just a good price… we want a relationship with someone who is going to help us shine in the eyes of upper management, or perhaps even help us advance our career: reasons that are highly personal and of course rooted in emotion.

So to explain Katie’s unexpected response to the ad for the spa treatment, we have to examine her emotional state. She is clearly in a situation where she is frustrated with life and happenstances that are clearly beyond her control. So as a marketer, we need to first understand Katie in order to properly reach her emotionally.

About Katie:
Katie is an over-achiever. She is a working mother who has a great deal of responsibility both at home and the office. She is a planner. She conducts her day according to a schedule. And last, and in fact, most importantly, Katie is the type of customer who can afford not just a spa treatment, but the works… the high margin extras that the spa thrives on.

Now how can the spa’s management reach out to Katie in a way that will have her sighing with relief instead of groaning with resentment when she hears about their offer?

First, they need to realize that the spa offers different things (or benefits) to different types of people (customer segments). Each segment has a particular set of needs and wants and thus has to hear a message geared toward it. Katie belongs to a segment of working women who have busy lives and thus need to schedule things around them, including relaxation time. The spa management needs to understand that this segment is perhaps their highest margin segment due to the disposable income its members possess.

So a better approach for management would be to first craft a message that resonates directly with the needs of this segment, such as, “My Time, my Treatment” and develop a program that is built around the lives of busy women. If their marketers deem the radio an appropriate way to reach out to this segment, then the spots need to run during the morning and evening rush and not the middle of the day. If they decide to go with a more direct route such as PPC or social media ads, or perhaps even through a sponsorship of a professional association geared toward working women, a sample or trial program may make more sense.

We won’t build their marketing communications plan here, but the point is the media they select should be something that is relevant to this specific market segment: Katie’s market segment.

Do they ignore other segments (customer types)? Certainly not, and each segment should receive the same treatment as Katie’s… a message crafted that speaks directly to it. And then media should be selected that best reaches each segment.

But in the end, even after Katie’s terrible day, she can be reached. And she can become a customer, probably a very loyal one. But the spa needs to reach out to her with a message that cuts through the clutter and addresses HER needs.

If they do this right, Katie will be saying, “You have a great brand, and I LOVE you!”