As marketers, we’re always looking for insight into our customers. But there’s only so much online behaviour and clicks analysis can tell us – it doesn’t get to the reasons driving the actions.
Much as we’d like to believe otherwise, humans are irrational creatures.Our feelings, as well as the feelings of those around us, drive our behaviour.We might post-rationalise our decision-making, but most of it is based on emotion. So if you’re selling a product or service, you need to understand what people are feeling, and why. That insight can help you tailor your messaging and connect with people on an emotional level.
AI can help you get a real insight into the emotions driving customer behaviour, without spending vast amounts of time interviewing people or reading online comments. It’s a way to turn the qualitative – emotions and feelings – into quantitative data.
AI, emotion and sentiment analysis, natural language processing – you may have heard the terms floating around, but do you know what they mean?
AI stands for artificial intelligence and refers to a computer program or machine that learns and changes its behaviour beyond its coding. Natural language processing (NLP) is a type of AI programmed to read and understand human language.
NLP software can read, process, and interpret content in a few different ways. Sentiment analysis offers a simple interpretation of the basic emotion driving the content – is it generally positive, negative, or neutral? Emotion analysis digs into the specific emotions – anger, disgust, fear, joy, embarrassment – expressed around a story or issue. Finally, topic analysis looks at the range of sub-topics that arise around an issue – what are people most concerned about?
Why is emotion important in marketing? Well, although we might like to think that customers logically consider the pros and cons of every product and service, that’s not really the case. How people feel about your brand is as important as what you actually do. Emotion influences what they choose to buy and how much they spend.
Think about it: during the COVID-19 lockdown, people were fearful and anxious, so they bought things that made them feel safe and comforted – whether that meant stocks of food, sweet treats, or the infamous toilet paper.
Emotions are not strictly personal, either. People have their individual struggles, but the wider social context is important, too. As COVID showed, significant events and social issues influence individual feelings and behaviour. That’s why it’s so important to analyse the conversation around hot-button topics and news stories as well as brands.
Analysing simple online behaviour lets you know what your customers are doing, but AI-driven emotion and sentiment analysis gives you a real insight into why they do it. And understanding the emotions behind the action scan help you communicate with your customers more effectively.
With Zavy’s new AI tool, Radar, you get qualitative data at a quantitative scale. That is, you can plug in a topic or brand and get an instant rundown of customer sentiment and emotions surrounding it. It’s an efficient way to get valuable insight into how your brand is perceived– and how other issues drive customer emotion.
Once you know how your audience is feeling, you can tailor your messages to match. If people are angry or frightened, it’s probably not the best time for overt self-promotion or irreverence. If feelings towards your brand are negative, look for ways to rebuild confidence in your business. If a certain story or issue is generating a lot of positive buzz, it could be a good opportunity to join the conversation and bring some of that energy your way. It’s about having empathy and reaching out to people in a relevant, authentic way.
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