Knowing Your Customer's Emotional Needs • Burt Systems Uganda

Knowing Your Customer’s Emotional Needs

Knowing Your Customer’s Emotional Needs

Knowing Your Customer's Emotional Needs

Identifying your customer’s emotional needs is crucial to your marketing strategy and the growth of your small business.

To truly understand your customer, you need to understand their motivation. What do they really need? 

Let me give you an example of my personal experience. This really stood out to me when I took my twelve year old daughter shopping for shoes. 

Functionally, she needed shoes. And so as we’re at the store, she’s looking at all these different pairs and I got distracted by something else. Ultimately, I came back and there she is taking pictures of the shoes, and I asked her, what are you doing? 

Young girl sharing moments on social media. (Photo Courtesy:

She was uploading pictures of shoes to Instagram and sharing them with her friends. She was getting immediate feedback from her friends about what they liked. It was then that I realized the difference between a functional need and emotional need. 

The functional need was shoes. We could have done that in seconds. The emotional need was shoes that not only she liked, but her friends liked. And so that was what I like to call, the need behind the need, the driving factor in the decision of what causes a teenage girl to buy a specific pair of shoes. 

But it’s not just teenage girls, it’s all of us. We have basic needs that we look to fulfill beyond the functional need. 

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In breaking down the different needs, Tony Robbins identified six basic needs.  

  1. Certainty/Comfort: assurance you can avoid pain and gain pleasure
  2. Uncertainty/Variety: the need for the unknown, change, new stimuli
  3. Significance: feeling unique, important, special or needed
  4. Connection/Love: a strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something
  5. Growth: an expansion of capacity, capability or understanding
  6. Contribution: a sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others


For example, certainty, you sell this when people like the way things are. They don’t like change, they like reliability, maybe nostalgia. You can sell cherished memories to this crowd because they like that certainty, that comfort in certainty. 


Also, we like variety. You see, we like things to remain as they are, but we also like things to be different. So depending upon what product you have, variety speaks to a number of needs, such as risk or chances. Maybe even a sense of rebellion, the unfamiliar, or challenge. 


We also like significance. A product can be positioned to show us our significance, or creating significance. Maybe it’s social status. Maybe it’s our reputation or recognition by others. This is the need for celebrity in all of us. 


Another need is connection or love, and this is one of the strongest ones. It’s that sense of belonging. It’s attraction, it’s confidence because it’s a connection. It’s a sense of personal attraction that people like me. You can also sell a product based on making you a better person. 


Every January, people like to make resolutions to go to the gym, to get in shape, maybe before summer, they want to have the beach body. This is all about getting better, improving your skills, or reaching some sense of achievement. 


And finally, it’s contribution. It’s going beyond yourself and doing something for other people. Now, that could be for recognition or self-satisfaction. There are many motivating factors behind contribution, but it starts with wanting to do something for someone else. 

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Think about how people sell travel. They don’t sell it as, get on a plane and go somewhere. Ultimately, they’re selling vacations as a way to reward yourself for working hard the rest of the year, and now you deserve it. 

Or, they sell it as a way to reconnect with your significant other, with your family, with relatives or friends. See, in that way, they’re not just selling the need for a vacation, they’re selling the benefits and the emotional satisfaction you’ll receive through a vacation. 

So when developing needs, think about the need behind the need, the emotional satisfaction that you can produce in your customer and make sure you deliver as close as possible to that need then your need for business growth will be met.

Burt Baguma
Burt Baguma
The writer is a Ghost Writer, Blogger, Web Developer and Online Marketing consultant. A Senior Manager at Burt Systems Uganda. Baguma has been writing for the digital world for over a decade and has worked with hundreds of small business owners across different cultures around the world.

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