You’ve no doubt heard that people emotionally decide what to purchase, and then use logic to justify that purchase.

Can a product be sold on emotion alone?

Yes. Usually to children.

Children desperately want to fit in. The easiest way to entice a child is to present your product as the one purchase that every other kid is getting.

Truthfully, does anyone need shoes that light up at each step? They don’t even flash a light in the direction the kid is traveling. Instead, they light up to show where he’s been.

When I was a kid, everybody had streamers – long strips of colored plastic attached to the plastic grips on bicycle handlebars. They flapped in the breeze and were absolutely useless except to show all of the other kids that you had ’em.

And if it weren’t for other kids owning them, could there be any justification for Pokemon cards?

Bigger kids, even sixty-year-old kids, still feel this pressure to belong. They’ve just become much better at justifying their purchase choices. As I said, they’ve learned to use facts as if the facts were how they came to the decision. It’s seldom the case.

But, for a minute, let’s consider the other extreme.

Can a product be sold purely on logic alone?

Yes, it can, if it’s a commodity.

Commodities are interchangeable mass-produced, unspecialized products like gasoline, rice, airline seats, and pork bellies. Since they’re all virtually identical, one buys them from a strictly transactional mindset: by dividing benefits by price. More benefits, lower price, better deal.

But, for everything else we buy, emotion plays a major part in our decisions.

Emotions, or Logic?

So, which is better?  Should you use emotion or logic to sell your products and services?

It’s a trick question. You need both.

Your ads should provide emotional appeal to help shoppers to choose your offering; and then back the decision up with solid facts they can use to explain their purchase to anyone else.

A Fictitious Example

Nothing warms and protects you like genuine leather. And nothing else will look so good on you, either. Ajax Leather jackets are exceptionally flattering. They can be worn for business, but you’ll find them equally comfortable for causal wear. The first thing you’ll notice as you slip into a lined Ajax Leather jacket is the weight. This jacket won’t wear out in a lifetime of use. Secondly you’ll admire the strong zippers and snaps and the quality of the stitching. But you’ll probably choose it because it looks so good on you. Step in to the Ajax Leather store and step out in style. Ajax Leather on Bovine Boulevard.

More will take the bait if you give them the intellectual rationale they need to justify the decision they wish to make emotionally. Help your customers to buy when you’re fishing for customers.

Your Guide,
Chuck McKay

Marketing consultant Chuck McKayYour Fishing for Customers guide, Chuck McKay, gets people to buy more of what you sell.

Got questions about combining logic with emotional appeals? Drop Chuck a note at Or call him at 760-813-5474.