How to Drive Action: The Psychology of Customer Engagement

The Psychology of Customer Engagement

What Drives Action?

We are emotional beings who THINK we’re rational beings.

What we buy, who we vote for, even who we choose to marry – are primarily emotional, or “feeling-based”, decisions.

People THINK they make decisions based on rationality, but what they are much more likely to do is make an emotional decision, and then search their brain for a rational justification of that decision.

What makes this tricky is that our brains do not make these decisions at the conscious surface level; rather, the decision-making process happens largely unconsciously. To further complicate things, we’re prone to what is known as the bias blind spot – aka, the thought that “other people are biased, but not me”.

In summary, it’s emotions – such as excitement, regret (or potential regret), hope, guilt, interest, and sympathy – that drive our decision-making processes.

Predictable Irrationality

Because of this emotional drive, it is, in many ways, irrational to expect people to be rational.

Our brains are wired for heuristics, which is a fancy term for “mental shortcuts.” These shortcuts are necessary, and yet inherently problematic.

Consider if our brains needed to process every piece of the near infinite data they receive; we’d never get anything done! Whether we’re deciding something as simple as what to wear, or as complicated as who to marry – the information overload would be paralysing.

Our mental shortcuts are necessary, in the sense that they allow us to “get the job done” – even though they may not be rational. That’s because evolutionarily, these shortcuts have developed for survival. For example, a shadow moving in our peripheral vision may make our brain immediately say “Creature! Danger!”; while it’s most likely not a creature, and rather just some laundry blowing in the wind, our unconsciousness has determined that it’s better to be safe than sorry.

What this means is that, while people are not rational, they are predictably irrational.

This predictable irrationality is precisely what marketers aim to understand.

Marketing is not a battle of products, it’s a battle of perceptions

Perception vs. Reality in Marketing

In the iconic book “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing”, Al Ries & Jack Trout discussed what they coined “The Law of Perception.”

As they wrote:

“There are no best products. All that exists in the world of marketing are perceptions in the minds of the customer or prospect. The perception is the reality. Everything else is an illusion.”

What product has the better box? How about the cooler logo? Do you like their celebrity spokesperson? None of these questions actually tell you anything about a product – but your answers reflect your overall perception and feeling about a product and brand. It’s this perception that matters in the long term.

And so, if perception matters more than reality, how do you control how a buyer perceives your product?

Some of the more popular feeling-creator tools include:

  • Visuals have the incredible ability to instantly transport an audience to a new emotional state. The visual look of a compelling painting, photo, or movie are instantly emotive transporting the viewer to a new emotional state.
  • Storytelling is an ancient means of effectively controlling how people feel. A skilled storyteller holds great power over people and societies. As Robert McKee wrote, “Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world.”
  • Other people are also incredibly effective at influencing our emotions. This is, in part, why we marvel at an actor when they truly emote. We are wired for empathy; seeing someone cry can evoke sadness, while watching someone laugh creates joy.
  • Music can have a tremendous emotional impact. People will often turn on music to help adjust their mood to reflect the feelings they desire experiencing (happiness, sadness, romance, etc).

Audio, visual, and social methods of effectuating desired emotions are some of the most powerful “feeling generator” tools mankind has developed. For this reason, the moving picture has long claimed the title of “king of entertainment” – TV, movies, and web videos alike use all of these tools to evoke an emotional response from viewers.

Audio, visual, and social methods of effectuating desired emotions are some of the most powerful “feeling generator” tools mankind has developed.

Feeling Informed

While people make their decisions based on emotions, they still want to feel informed. This allows us to delude ourselves into thinking our decisions are rational. For this reason, people mostly make decisions once they’ve reached a surface level of understanding – enough to convince themselves they’re making an informed decision.

The lack of depth of understanding actually required in the decision-making process was underscored in this study from Oklahoma state in which;

  • 82% of survey respondents supported mandatory labelling of food containing GMOs
  • 80% also supported mandatory labelling of food containing DNA

Sounds good, until you realise, we’d be labelling all food “contains DNA” because all plants and animals, “contain DNA.” It would essentially be a meaningless label.

Nevertheless, survey respondents felt informed enough to answer the question. Thus highlighting how willing people are to make decisions based on feeling informed, rather than actually being informed.

This leads us to the big question: How do we market so that people make purchasing decisions based on emotion, while making them believe the decisions they’re making are rational & informed?

When you give people data, they feel better informed to make decisions


When you give people data, they feel better informed to make decisions – but how much is too much?

When you give them just enough data, they feel empowered to make decisions – as opposed to too much data, where they get overwhelmed.

An effective option to provide just enough data is by making sure the data is personalised. This means providing a person with information that is relevant to them as an individual – therefore empowering them to make decisions that are driven by emotion, but that they feel are still rational.

Providing the user not just with general data, but with their personalised data, is in part what makes Personalised Video so powerful. We’ve already discussed why the video is seen as the king of entertainment; Personalised Video forces a viewer’s emotional response up a notch further by adding the additional element of personalisation. Therefore, grabbing their attention while informing and engaging the viewer.

In the above example, many elements of a core video have been personalised to reflect each person’s specific information. There are obvious personalised elements such as the name as well as more subtle touches reminding them of their savings goals whether that’s buying a home, retirement, or a child’s college fund. Therefore, grabbing their attention and motivating them to take action.

Take the Optimal Action

The nature of Personalised Video means viewers don’t just take any action, they take the optimal action.

Data-driven Personalised Video provides viewers with unique content that includes tailored messaging, customised next steps, and individual CTAs. That means we can control and enforce the desired optimal action we want a particular viewer to take.

Ready to take some action yourself and learn more? You can contact us by clicking now:

Schedule a Call

Explore More Content

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Explore More Content

Related Articles

Why Spotify Wrapped Works and How You Can Do It Too

Why Spotify Wrapped Works and How You Can Do It Too

It’s finally here — the most wonderful time of the year: holidays, presents, way too much eggnog and the much-anticipated release of Spotify Wrapped. Around the first week of December every year, Spotify sends more than 150 million users a shareable recap of what they’ve listened to this year. Whether you like seeing your top artists or just want to know exactly how many times your friend played that Taylor Swift hit, Wrapped is a fun way to celebrate music and community. For marketers, there’s a lot to learn here. Spotify Wrapped shows how the right combination of personalization, visuals and shareability can create a flywheel of engagement for users. In this post, we’ll dig into how the trend got started, what makes it work and how you can leverage the trend for your audience, even if you don’t happen to be the largest music streaming service in the world.

Read More
5 Quick Tips for Getting Started With Personalised Video

5 Quick Tips for Getting Started With Personalised Video

When it comes to creating real connections with your audience, Personalised Video is a powerful tool. But like any tool, you need to use it the right way for it to be effective. If you’re just dipping your toes into the world of Personalised Video, we have a few tips to share from lessons learned over the past decade-plus of working with clients in a range of industries, ranging from higher education to hospitality. Some of the biggest perceived hurdles to getting started with Personalised Video involve time, money, and where to get all that data. We’re here to help. Read on for five (easy) Personalised Video tips you need to know now. 1. Right-Size Your Personalisation Personalisation isn’t one size fits all. What works well in one industry may not work in another. Case in point: Your bank certainly knows your account number, but that doesn’t mean you want

Read More
How To Choose the Right Personalised Video Software

How To Choose the Right Personalised Video Software

As tailored experiences become the norm rather than the exception, Personalised Video has been increasingly used by brands across industries to improve the effectiveness of their marketing strategies. Take a look at the nonprofit industry where Personalised Videos delivered via email led to higher engagement among donors led to a staggering 17x ROI for the Canadian Red Cross. Meanwhile, gaming brands like Ubisoft and Activision have seen great success with personalised recap videos that strengthen player loyalty and retention. As a versatile tool, Personalised Video can be used to level up communication throughout the sales process and customer journey. Here are just a few use cases and ideas to consider: Improve outreach efforts with highly tailored video messages Acquire new customers with engaging video offers Grow brand awareness when customers share their personalised content Optimise the onboarding experience with Personalised and Interactive Video tutorials In an era where one-size-fits-all no

Read More

Download the Report

See more of the data and findings in the full report.

Thanks for downloading!

Your copy of our 2023 State of Video Technology consumer study has opened in a new tab.

Request a Call

Leave your details below, and our team will contact you ASAP to show you what Personalised Video can do for you.