How to tap into human emotions with my marketing

Why Tapping Human Emotions is the Key to Marketing Success

You may like to think of yourself as a logical person but the truth is the vast majority of decisions you make are split-second choices (almost) always driven by emotion. It’s neuroscience fact! In a recent Fast Company article Douglas Van Praet, author of Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (and Inspire) Marketing, wrote that

“Emotions are the substrate, the base layer of neural circuitry underpinning even rational deliberation. Emotions don’t hinder decisions. They constitute the foundation on which they’re made!”

We, as a race, form opinions about people we meet within 7 seconds. We make choices about the clothes we wear and the cars we drive based on how other people will perceive us. A Princeton study has even shown that we choose political candidates based (at least in part) on how “attractive” or “trustworthy” their facial expressions are.

Our brains are hardwired to work this way. By relying on emotion to help us make these snap decisions, we conserve computing power for more “important” functions—like figuring out what’s for dinner or remembering to pick up the kids after practice. As an event planner you can use this to create emotionally driven marketing campaigns and advertisements to dramatically increase your customer conversion rates, sell out venues, and increase profits. But to do so, you need to understand what emotions are triggered by certain tactics and how you can use those emotions to meet your needs.

Purposefully triggering “helpful” emotions sounds a bit like a Mad Scientist’s experiment but when done with altruistic and wholesome intentions it can improve your profits while actually making your target audience feel better about themselves!


Tapping Sweet Emotion


Happiness. Either people have it and want more or don’t have it at all and can’t live without it. That desire rakes in millions of dollars per year on everything from gym memberships to trips to the ice cream shop. People want to feel happy and they’ll spend time and money to do so—even at the most basic levels.

You, as an event planner, can tap into that desire by using images of happy people (or even inanimate objects) in your advertising. People see people being happy and they get jealous—“I want what they have!”

Android’s “Be together. Not the same” campaign from a few years ago is a wonderful example: people from all walks of life smiling and singing and dancing simply because they have “chosen” to express individuality and combat the iPhone monopoly.

Smart event planners can use this desire to be happy by promoting the joy one gets from attending. These adverts help people engage and result in attendees feeling better about themselves and life in general.


Fear is the most powerful driving factor in our lives. It makes us act “crazy” and keeps us from doing things we’ve always wanted to do. Insurance companies lean heavily on advertising that plays to our fears. Event planners can too.

But you don’t have to be mean to tap into that fearful emotion. The easiest way to do this is to tap into our ingrained loss aversion response system. Experimental studies have shown repeatedly that people rate not losing something (say $5) as almost always more important or favorable than finding an equivalent.

So instead of repeatedly hammering in negative images and messages, simply tickle that knee-jerk reaction we all have to retain the status quo.

Concert promoters play up the fear of being left out. They’ve always used verbiage like “for one night only” but now they cram popular bands/artists into tiny venues. This decreases the supply of seats and immediately increases demand for tickets. Fans fear they’ll be left empty handed. That imbalance in the age-old supply/demand formula creates sold-out performances and opens opportunities for premium and VIP upsells!


Grabbing attention is the hardest component of marketing. We’re bombarded by an average of 5,000 advertisements per day. If yours doesn’t jump out it’s just more white noise. Disgust (and/or frustration) can focus attention quickly. Always used disgust in their “Like a Girl” campaign (which won multiple international awards) by highlighting preconceived gender stereotypes.

But selling with anger can be tricky. Politically incorrect comedians like Jeff Dunham, edgy musical groups like Insane Clown Posse, and even alternative Broadway Musicals like Hamilton have used anger and disgust in marketing wisely to create a sense of comradery among their fans that increases the likelihood of pushing that buy button.

These successful promotional campaigns all share a sense of righting a wrong. The anger that’s generated is focuses at an injustice, inequality, or a bad behavior. The product that’s being sold (from tampons to belly laughs) is marketed as the solution to this uncomfortable truth.

It’s Time to Share: The Viral Component

Emotional marketing in the social media age is easy. When people get excited about something they share it with the click of a button. Clickbait articles are the perfect “shocking,” “terrifying,” or “sexy” examples of this viral share. And viral sharing is free (or nearly free) advertisement for your event! So:

1) Use that emotional pull to make your adverts stand out then
2) Play to those emotions to decrease resistance

And don’t forget to ask for that share!

Charity Event Organizers Can Tap Into Emotions

Understanding the Helper’s High

We’ve all experienced the Helper’s High at one point or another—maybe when we’ve donated a toy at Christmastime, when we’ve helped a friend move to a new apartment, when we’ve left a larger-than-average tip for a good waiter. It’s that little buzz that leaves you feeling good about yourself long after the deed is done.

But that “high” is more than just a good feeling—it’s an actual chemical reaction in your body and brain. Indeed, giving charitably generates dopamine and other “feel good” chemicals inside us all. It’s these chemicals that make us feel good, improve our emotional outlook, fight depression, and help us maintain a stable emotional baseline.

Indeed, multiple studies have found that people who donate (time, money, or even their old castoffs) report feeling:

  • Physically stronger
  • More energetic
  • Calmer
  • Less stressed
  • Less depressed

There’s even some research which suggests people who regularly give of themselves live longer, are sick less often, and have sunnier outlooks on life even when faced with adversity. This effect is often even stronger than exercising four times per week or going to church.

Charitable event organizers can help stoke that Helper’s High by using advertising that promotes that good feeling we all get from giving. Hopeful images and messaging that reminds us of how much good our small donation can really do. That expectation of an altruistic reward can easily overcome a customer’s objections to buying tickets to your event or purchasing upsells.

Bypass Buying Objections

Successfully tapping into a prospect’s emotions is essentially bypassing their logical brain—the portion that thinks ticket prices are too high or indulging in 1990’s nostalgia isn’t worth it. Do it correctly and you can make that buying impulse automatic.

For more information on how Ticketstripe can help with your online event marketing and streamline ticket sales, contact us today.