Marketing, emotions and neuromarketing

Emotional markers and Emotion


Traditionally market researchers have tried to measure feelings, which are our conscious emotional experiences. But there is a whole different world of non-conscious emotional reactions like emotional markers and approach-avoidance responses.

There are three basic dimensions of emotion

Valence – positive/negative, from liking to disliking

Arousal – level of stimulation, intensity, excitation

Motivation – activation orientation of emotion, from approach to avoidance

In Motivation vs. Valence –  What you want can be different from what you like.

Conscious and non-conscious emotions work together to

  1. Draw attention to positive opportunities in our environment
  2. Alert is to dangers
  3. Remind us to learns from our experiences

The purpose of conscious feelings is to command attention and stimulate learning. Conscious emotional states (the learning process) usually occur after an emotional event, not during.

Noncontinuous emotions is to provide direct input into immediate behavioral situations, often before conscious processing can formulate an opinion.

Emotions are good for marketers when:

To products and brands stimulate reinforce learning which can shape future responses, crating habits and preferences.

Emotions provide an efficient shortcut to consumer decision making, guiding and simplify our choices as consumers, performing functions completely outside our conscious awareness

They allow consumers to bypass the traditional route to purchase measured by market research – that is, bypassing attention, persuasion, memorization and explicit recall at the point of scale.

For more information about emotional marketing you can look at the work of Antonio Damasio and the somatic markers.

Should you go with your gut?

  • One school of thought: The more I force you to decide rationally, the less happy you’ll be
  • Another one: It pays to think – because you will have a better way to decide.

The reality is that System 1, is not judgmental, it’s just an observer. This is still an open question. Nevertheless my personal opinion is that the “gut” has more nervous endings than the brain. But in leadership terms, there is also such thing as: training your gut. The more you practice, the more secure you’ll become to make – informed gut feelings.




Brain Science is Changing Marketing

“The brain is nothing more than a prediction machine, it’s always trying to figure out what will happen next. We don’t live in the present, we live in the future.”

It all starts with ROI – we all die for ROI. Some years ago, it was all about branding and impressions. The world has changed quite a bit with Internet and clicks, and tweets, and shares. Having a big event is no longer needed, now we need to prove how effective that is – in dollars, in actual revenue. I know, crazy!

Enter Neuromarketing.

Neuromarketing is not marketing to the brain, that is marketing. Marketing tries to influence the brain, neuromarketing is about measurement, measuring how efficient marketing is in both, conscious and unconscious impulses.

Many people believe Neuromarketing is about subliminal control. There are several bad things about marketing, not every marketer’s heart is pure (mine is though), nevertheless I believe that as humans and consumers, we are better off understanding how marketing affects the brain. There is an amazing neuromarketing BBC documentary: BBC Documentary – Horizon, out of Control?

Neouromarketing gets into the nature of how we learn and how we process. One of the best examples is the Stroop effect. If you are like the rest of us, you might have difficulty while doing the famous test. This is a proof that your unconscious mind works.

Neuromarketing is mainly trying to modernize the concept that Marketing had about consumers and their high level of consciousness when a consumer wants to make decisions.

The theory of the rational consumer assumes that any impulse from a Marketing source, will, if effective, impact the decision making process of the consumer. Back in the 1930’s when advertising was starting, the “magic bullet” theory was elaborated. The two theories, magic bullet and rational consumer would imply that:

Consumers think in terms of information

A consumer respond to marketing that presents rational, logical arguments about brands and products

The only way marketing and advertising can influence a consumer is because the consumer remembers, rationally, the brand

How consumers really are

  1. We do a lot of habitual and spontaneous buying, we don’t do a lot of deep information analysis
  2. We don’t do cost-benefit analysis – the more decisions the more confused
  3. We decide on unconscious decision
  4. We depend on a lot of habit
  5. We actively and passively avoid advertising – Consumers don’t like being persuaded
  6. We have faulty memories – we think we remember like a camera, but that is not really our mind
  7. We have weak preferences
  8. We are widely over-confident about our self knowledge – we all believe we are special

Why neuromarketing is becoming a business

All self-reporting methods assume that people have conscious accessibility to their mental states

Modern brain science provide evidence that:

  1. We don’t know why we do things
  2. Our attitudes, preferences and opinions are much less stable than we believe

The cognitive timeline (simplified)

Warning – not for cognitive scientists, just for marketers


Form impression – A lot of sensory information comes to our brain

This is a nonconsious way to gather data. All this stimuli we turn into perceptions that we can understand

Determine meaning and value – we try to make sense of the information

In an automatic way, we decide what is the value. Is this good? Is this bad? Will this improve my life, kill me?

The Central Nervous System takes over and decides what these inputs are. These are our very primitive responses

Deliberate and analyze – We decide what to do

Only after the unconscious mind takes the input and react, our rational mind needs to decide what to do. This includes activities such as memorizing and remembering, calculating, and planning.

Speak and act – we move

From ordering our muscles to move, all the way to talk, to decide to flee.

How to trigger these different processes?

There are several connections in the brain that can trigger diverse actions in the brain. Oone of the most known has to do with ‘aroma marketing’

The unconscious stages is really fast .3 milliseconds. But what about larger purchases? Does this take the same amount of time?Most likely, nevertheless it’s hard to say, in the real world. All the different stages are overlapping, and our brain is constantly taking input. Our behavior changes based on these inputs.

Marketing and Neuromarketing are not a one time shot – that is where we need to look at advertising differently. For most things in the world, our minds try to generate connections, asking: how these things work together?

Advertising works because we have positive associations with the product.

Volume of purchase – large investment?

Professional reviews occur after the purchase, not before. We don’t completely disregard the reviews fist, but we have such an overwhelming choice for every type of price level, that even in the luxury space, you have substitutes – a Rolex, a car, a mansion.

Within wherever it is in an objective scale, if that is the level I’m buing, even with mortgages, the biggest factor is the personality of the mortgage broker. When there is 100 options, even with fees, 1/4 of difference, they lean into the personality. There is an irrational element on home buying – this gut feeling is important.

That is where the rationalization comes into place. There is a social context for it. After Purchase is not a reason, in most cases is a rationalization

Enter System 1 and System 2

There are 7 non-conscious mechanisms that influence what we choose and what we do. Daniel Kahneman’s, Thinking Fast and Slow, with the introduction of Behavioral Economics, introduce the notion of diverse processes happening within System 1 and System 2

System 1 is the unconscious while System 2 is the conscious.

System 1 is in charge, making sure you can walk straight and not fall down – System 2 is the “lazy controller” it only intervenes when it absolutely must.

System 1 only triggers System 2 when something unexpected happens – hence the importance of novelty (and perhaps why divorce happens after 3-5 years, where the “magic” fades. Also why divorce doesn’t happen after 10+ years, you become used to the input, moving your relationship into auto-drive.

Our brains are cognitive misers, we prefer shortcuts, we rely on hunches and we guess. But our two systems are not in a fight with each other, they complement, and System 2 can override System 1 – but this comes only from a conscious decision.

Novelty and familiarity detection – Novelty and familiarity form a continuum

Consumers seek novelty, but distrust it. It catches our eye but also implies uncertainty and uncertainty and ambiguity always increase aversion and avoidance in decision making.

Use novelty to attract attention to your product

Novelty for novelty sake will probably fail (Gap logo)

Use marketing to move reactions from confusing to interesting – make novel products comprehensive

Get from novel to familiar as fast as you can! That’s were the money is.

3 signs that tell if your Marketing Automation is broken and how to fix it

The Marketing Automation and CRM space is becoming more and more complex. Despite the increase in solutions, connectors, BI tools, organizations are still struggling to provide tailored and targeted campaigns that can match the customer’s behavior and offer a value added to their communications. According to an article by Content4Demand, the lack of an effective strategy is the most challenging obstacle to marketing automation success.

I want to go deeper into what this lack of strategy might look like inside a company. When a company dives into a solution, without thinking about the business process in advance, the outcome will most end up in failure. There are similar characteristics among organizations that are not using its Salesforce instance or their marketing automation to its full potential, thus missing the opportunity to improve their targeting and nurturing of their customers.

Your business processes are more than a year old

What does it look like?

Your automation solution is running and you abandoned your weekly meetings to improve processes; the team that used to get together to discuss data quality disbanded and you are looking at more leads that are not Sales Qualified getting into your system.

Your scoring models are set and done, your user segmentation has not been modified in more than six months, and your Google Analytics views have been the same for the last year. You feel like your org is mostly running by its own, but the reality is that your campaigns are repetitive and static.

The good news

Your org is working (for now).

The bad news

No one is trying to push its limits, to improve the workflows, to modify and optimize the way you create and capture leads. Your Sales team is going to start complaining very soon about your Salesforce not providing useful information.

What to do about it?

  • Revise your business process and ask the hard questions.
  • The secret behind revamping your marketing workflows and getting back in the right track with your acquisition has to do with the way you conduct business.
  • If you go through a strategic planning session for the company, there is a big chance that the focus of your business changed from the time you implemented your campaigns and the way your Sales department is honing in on prospects.

You suck as a parent!

What does it look like?

Organizations deal with CRM’s and Marketing Automation platforms the same way parents deal with their children. They believe their offspring is perfect, and if it misbehaves it is because external or environmental causes, when the reality is that you suck as a parent!

The good news

There are some corrective measures you can implement to get your rascal kid back in line.

The bad news

The morale and trust on the system is so deteriorated that you have your Marketing & Sales managers to change the system and purchase one “that works”. You have a revolt in your hands.

What to do about it?

  • Revise your business process (but maybe you did this after you read my previous point).
  • In this case you are going to adopt the role of counselor and psychologist. You know that the system is not broken, but your users may not have enough training, it’s a good time to invest in quality end-user-training.
  • Make sure your Sales, Marketing and IT departments are using your CRM in a similar manner. A lot of the problems with marketing automation come from not having a common vocabulary and understanding of what the other department is doing and implementing.

Marketing is an art, not a science

What does it look like?

Your Marketing team has forgotten about establishing KPI’s, Goals, and tests when they set up campaigns. Your Sales department does not input require information for lead qualification, and they are using free text notes more and more. Your IT department has been relaxing the field policies because the Marketing department wants more freedom.

Maybe you have Salesforce and a Marketing Automation platform and they don’t talk to each other. The most likely scenario here is that Sales was no longer receiving enough leads from marketing so they went on a rampage, since then, your marketing department forgot about the Sales Qualified Lead model and bought into the idea of “Viral” as a strategy.

The good news

Your company is working, your team has managed to create campaigns and they are not slacking

The bad news

You are getting data into the system, but no one is doing anything about it. Your team may be creative, but you don’t know if they are being effective.

What to do about it?

  • I’m going to change speeds here on number one, because this is really really important: Fire anyone that uses the word “Viral”
  • Now revise your business process
  • Be sure to clarify Sales Qualified Leads and Marketing Qualified Leads.
  • Favor campaigns that have a positive ROI than those with a positive brand image – you can modify this later when the storm passes.
  • Measure with a strategy in mind

How I got featured in the Salesforce Admin Keynote

This Dreamforce was special for me, there was a video and some slides during the keynote that had me featured. Also, the VP Admin Marketing, Sarah Franklin told the story of how I started this #awesome Salesforce path. Before getting into  a brief career recap of how I made it to Dreamforce, here is the part of the Dreamforce Keynote with me on it (oh yes, I dance Salsa):

You can also check the complete video here.

My Salesforce Origins: An erratic and rocky beginning

I started working with Salesforce because I didn’t understand my former boss’s style of management was, for sake of argument – nonexistent.

His revenue tracking, division of work, project management and overall financial reporting was affecting every aspect of the company. I decided to take charge of the problem, facing several difficulties when trying to implement multiplicity of systems that could unify all the areas of the film-making facility. Long story short, I failed.

So many failed implementations!

Boss fail=business fail

During my research I began to understand the nuances of the different layers of business data. For me it became a need to solve a puzzle, in which all the pieces had different shapes and flavors (Note to Self: don’t eat puzzle pieces).

That rabbit hole led me to start my own company, implementing marketing automation tools, Google Analytics, and developing best practices to maintain data integrity and business processes aligned to different organizations. Yes, this was a plug for my company’s services.

At that time, I was very naïve; I believed that the tools and technology would be the panacea for all companies. After two failed implementations of Salesforce I began to discover how little the technology meant – but how important was to understand the logic & the particular business practices – that knowledge could be extrapolated to mostly any automation tool.


Robots won’t solve your problems

My feature during Dreamforce’s Admin Keynote meant that my, somehow empirical approach to business systems, paid off: no technology or system applies to all organizations – and that’s where Salesforce success resides, you can customize the business logic of the system to match your business practices.

As a free piece of advice for all of you thinking to convert to Salesforce:  YES, YOU NEED AN ADMIN!



Besides an #awesome team of Admin Marketing from Salesforce that believed in my story and the support of KQED – I have five key pointers that might have helped me when I was building my career as a Salesforce expert.

Help yourself out

Don’t be shy to be part of Success communities and User Groups, they are going to be your source of knowledge and you will find them extremely friendly and willing to help.

If you don’t know where to start, there are thousands of sites that can help you figure outSalesforce Two of my all-time favorites for when I was starting, and even now:

CourageSalesforce2. Set up your own Org

I would suggest than even before attempting your first Admin Cert, try your own org (for free) and give it a run. You’ll get a better understanding of all the literature you’ll read when going through the study guides.

With Salesforce, it is true that you don’t need a technical background to work with the system. The power of the Admin is that we can have so many different abilities that would make us successful. In my case it had to do with my willingness to consult on business processes and understand reporting capability.

Of course being a Digital Marketer, trying to measure every aspect of a company, and a strong focus on KPI’s and Entrepreneurial Marketing was a big incentive to look at Salesforce as the center of all the information processing needs for my endeavors. Try all the features your free org has to offer.



3. Get certified

Both the Admin and the Developer (now App Builder) certifications are both valuable and useful to advance and proof your career. I would advice 3 to 6 months of preparation before taking the actual test, but if you search Google you’ll find different opinions.

Stony Point helped me get certified, it is a good option.

4. Volunteer for a Non-Profit

There are a lot of Non-Profits that require help managing their orgs. It is a great way to get experience and also to give back!

I’ve volunteered through Volunteermatch, and besides having that rewarding feeling of accomplishment, I’ve learned a lot about business practices.

Salesforce Foundation will be an ally while working with non profits

Salesforce Foundation will be an ally while working with non profits


5. Listen to all your users

From managers to new users, listening to everyone and anyone will help you to map your organization’s unique customization of Salesforce.

Me during Dreamforce 2015

Me during Dreamforce 2015 (Thanks Kathy Tian!)

As a final note I would say that working as a Salesforce Administrator has increased my Data Analytics expertise, has made me a better marketer, and it has led me to a world in which you could measure mostly anything (I have developed Salesforce Apps to track my Job search, my client’s progress, my Marketing Campaigns, and even my workouts), all of that without needing to write code.

Full disclosure – I now do write Apex, because I enjoy it, not because I need it….and my Admin background has made it soooo much easier.

If you decide going the Salesforce road, I would like you to remember a very strong point made by the VP Admin Marketing, Sarah Franklin’s keynote presentation: every Salesforce admin is a Chief Information Officer (CIO) in training. You will be faced with data integrity problems, business process nightmares, financial black holes, and many hours of user training – but it’s totally worth it.

P.S. If you are starting your Salesforce roadmap check Trailhead – your badges will help you improve you skills.

Now-go and become and #awesomeadmin!

Now-go and become and #awesomeadmin!

How to choose a Business Model

I know it’s hectic out there! Lots of options to choose from, lots of possibilities, but how can you select the correct Business Model for your startup or company?

There is not simple answer, but here are some tips that you can use to figure it out. A small spoiler:  as the Marketing guy I will start as usual with – know your costumer.

Thanks to EFactor for the opportunity!


Do marketing to jump the chasm

It’s the end of the month, your thriving financial reports are on your desk. You’ve had a history of great months of revenue, of increased sales, great success overall. You run through your numbers, with the same diligence as the past months, but come up with a decreased cash-flow, less units that are being sold. You might try to find the answers in your accounting books, on the Profit & Loss statements, or even try to understand the reasoning of your sales force. The reality is that you are facing the chasm.

The term chasm was coined by Geoffrey A. Moore in 1990. Despite being more than 20 years old, some of the concepts from the theory are still latent in the modern business theory. A critique to the book has been its focus on high-tech industries, such as pharmaceuticals, computers, mobile phones, etc. Nevertheless the theory can be easily applied to any market, since its objective is to achieve a sustained growth of the company.


The main idea behind “Crossing the Chasm” is to target your market and focus your efforts on niches. To achieve a better segmentation, Moore based its theory on ​Rogers’ Innovation Adoption Lifecycle. Rogers’ curve presents five different segments:

  • Innovators – constantly in search of new technologies.
  • Early adopters – search for new technologies hoping to solve their problems.
  • Early majority – waiting for technology to solve a problem or issue they have.
  • Late majority – they are not searching for a new technology, if it’s a proven solution, they’ll use it.
  • Laggards – they have to adopt the technology or the innovation because they are finding difficulties not using it.

Image credits to ​Idiology


To cross the chasm and take your startup to its growth stage, you can take into consideration these suggestions:

Marketing is essential

We usually leave the marketing department out of the loop of the business development. Moore’s focus on crossing the chasm is based on the ability of this department to reach out to customers and translate your product or services into a value proposition suited for your target market. For Moore, marketing is the group of people working directly with the customer, fitting the product and positioning the image of the brand in a relevant and useful context.

The marketing department ultimate goal is to position the product into the early majority segment – jumping over the chasm. For Moore: “Positioning is the pinnacle of marketing–but it’s also tricky. People hold an image of a product in their minds–and don’t like anyone else to manipulate that. So instead of trying to define it, find ways to make the product easier to buy.”

Understand where your customer buys

You need to create a relationship with your client to get over the chasm. Those Early Adopters and Innovators were willing to come to you and test your product. Now it’s your turn to go and look for them.

Direct sales is the preferred strategy for Moore, but this was pre-social media. I’m not saying that you should just disregard the one-on-one meetings. But if you are on a tight budget, you can reach some of those prospects with the correct automation tools. Once more, don’t just ignore going out there and meeting your clients, in this stage, your product needs to engage customers.

Don’t be afraid to adapt

Moore doesn’t urge you to change your product. To cross the chasm you need to adapt your message. A good tailored message, that

He provides a template to achieve this in two sentences:

For the (target customer),
who is dissatisfied with (current alternative in the market),

Our product is a (new product category)

that provides a (capability to solve target customer’s important problem).

Unlike (the product alternative),

we have assembled (key features that demonstrate you have the whole product, not just a piece of a puzzle).

You are not back to square one

The question that might arise from entering a new segment is: who do I know inside that target niche? You might already have contacts within your previous costumers, talk to them, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask them for a recommendation.

If you are uncertain that they can help, pinpoint the prospect that might have a larger benefit out of your product, that one customer that you can really help. Even if you have no strong contacts, it’s a good thing; you can start nurturing your network!

Is your tactic killing your strategy?

Tactics might become a tornado for companies, and by tornado I mean they can destroy the core foundation of your marketing efforts, overwhelming your strategic intents.

We all talk about a strategy, a plan, a road-map to success, but in reality, finding the right mix between tactics and strategy is easier said than done. Strategy is, like a business plan, once you wrote it, it might be rendered obsolete.


The problem begins when we stand on top of our managerial pedestal and forget that someone has to implement the plan. You gave the marching orders, but do you walk the walk? Can you make your crew to walk it with you?

Check the next 5 points to avoid the wreckage of overspreading you and your team. Do I have to begin with: Have your strategy written down! I’m not even going to bother with that point.

Establish your measurements

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” – established Edwards Deming.

When we create an outreach plan, a marketing plan, even a sales strategy, we rely on outcomes, numbers, data. This is the same as with Big Data (you can read my previous post on the Trap of Big Data here), identifying which are the important factors to measure is as important as your strategy. Kevin Hillstrom has great insights on how to work on your measurements on his blog.

Your Key Performance Indicators (KPI) will vary, widely, and it all comes down to your strategy and where your customers are on the funnel (yes – I don’t believe the funnel is dead – go to point 3). If you don’t select which data means something, you’ll find yourself drowning in a sea of numbers which might or might not mean anything.

Are you getting anywhere with your measurements?

Are you getting anywhere with your measurements?

Communication, communication, communication

What makes a great manager is the ability to communicate clearly that plan to her team. My point here is that we tend to care much more about how we communicate to the outside audiences, and we don’t make the same efforts with our inside crowd. We allow the tactics to become the strategy for our team, because that is the tangible asset, those are the easily measurable items. We pound our team to have a strategic approach, but demand the tactics to deviate from the strategy, to generate immediate results.

If we are able to communicate what we want, how we wanted, and how far along our team can pivot from the immediate rewards/revenue, we’ll have a better and more motivated team.

Be clear on what you want your team to do.

Be clear on what you want your team to do.

Don’t forget the funnel

The funnel is dead they say? I disagree – I think the funnel is more alive than ever. Those who say its dead might base their opinion on the complexity of the current funnel.

Customers and clients don’t follow the traditional funnel anymore. They can get into our radar anywhere – maybe they no longer need to be ushered from lead to prospect, they may already be customers, but how to know? Using a CRM, tracking their interactions, rely on technology. If you don’t have the resources to do it – go back to your KPI’s those are will give you some information on your tracking efforts.

The sales funnel might look as neuronal network instead of just a funnel.

Where in the funnel are your customers?

Where in the funnel are your customers?

Where are your personas?

There are good and bad news if you already have your personas. The good part: if you have them, you already have them. You don’t need to invest more time or resources in figuring out who they are.

The bad news: Maybe your personas are inside someone’s drawer, or computer, or the Cloud. I’m all in favor of saving paper, and trees, but you have to have them where everyone who’s selling and doing marketing can see them.

An important point – update your personas often. Don’t let your personas age throughout the strategic plan. If you see that they are changing, they are using different media, they are moving to other websites, re-target and re-name them.

not idea

 Pivot and align – then align and pivot

When you have your strategy ready, try to stick to it. The danger of tactics will remain, it’s inevitable. Let’s remember D. Eisenhower’s words: “…plans are useless, but planning is indispensable”. The mere action of telling your team the plan, establishing a course of action and adjusting it to the environment will help you to be better prepared to satisfy your customers, to fulfill their expectations. Remember, they are your business, that’s why we work so hard.