This is a guest post by Juan Pablo, Marketing Manager at Lander.
Nowadays, customers are bombarded with marketing messages and offers. If you want to turn prospects into customers and loyal users, you need establish a positive emotional bond with them through every touch point.
In an analysis of the IPA dataBANK, which contains 1,400 case studies of successful advertising campaigns, campaigns with purely emotional content performed about twice as well (31% vs. 16%) as those with only rational content (and did a little better than those that mixed emotional and rational content).
Brands that can forge a strong emotional connection with their audience are able to increase sales, boost customer loyalty and even get away with charging up to 200% more than their competitors.
Emotional marketing makes sense. Science has shown that people feel first, and think second. The emotional brain processes sensory information in one fifth of the time our cognitive brain takes to assimilate the same input.
What exactly does emotional marketing mean?
When you think about emotional marketing, you probably immediately think about consumer facing brands like Coca-cola, P&G, Budweisers, and other iconic brands that have created memorable commercials and Super Bowl ads. They’re masters at story-telling. For example, Coca-cola’s commercials are almost always about how Coca-cola is bringing people happiness. Budweiser’s commercials help the viewer imagine that he or she has been transported to a tropical paradise where all their worries have melted away.
But how can B2B marketers tap into emotions to sell their products? Isn’t the business buyer making decisions based on business rationale and calculated logic?
While it’s true that B2B decision-makers don’t want to feel emotionally “manipulated” by marketers, and prefer to reach their decision based on logic, rational thinking, and business value, they are individual people at the end of the day. Seth Godin says that B2B buyers are just consumers buying things with other people’s money.
Which emotions are the most relevant “Hooks” in B2B Marketing?
The purpose of emotion in B2B marketing is to communicate a company’s values, and convey that the company is worthy of their clients’ trust. Geoffrey James put together seven unique “emotional hooks” that drive B2B buying:
- Hook #1: Job Security. The buyer feels “safe” purchasing from you and your firm. Because he believes that you’ll do an adequate job, he won’t get fired or demoted.
- Hook #2: Career Advancement. The buyer feels that buying from you and your firm will give him career points or position him for another job, either inside or outside the current firm.
- Hook #3: Personal Achievement. The buyer takes pride in his work and feel that buying from you and your firm is the “right thing to do” based upon his own self-image as a good guy.
- Hook #4: Internal Relationships. The buyer likes the people he’s buying for and wants them to be happy.
- Hook #5: External Relationships. The buyer actually likes the sales rep personally and therefore wants to please him.
- Hook #6: Protective Laziness. The buyer sees buying as the path of least resistance so that buying from you quickly will let him return to whatever really interests him.
- Hook #7: Simple Greed. The buyer expects to receive some sort of financial benefit from buying.
How to start doing emotional marketing
First you should try to find the link to an issue that plagues your consumers and relates directly or even tangentially to your brand or product. At the same time, you must make sure that the topic you choose also positively reflects the position of your brand.
In any case, any emotional appeal in B2B marketing has to be tied to the personal benefits the company will gain from your product or service. To be successful, a B2B marketing campaign must fuse a solid business message, backed up by data, and a unique value proposition – with an emotional appeal that fosters trust.
Since choosing a supplier has an important impact in any company’s bottom line, B2B marketing must be geared towards building a relationship with prospects, earning their trust, and personalizing connections with multiple stakeholders.
B2B marketers should emphasize the values, beliefs, and inspiration that their organization puts forward first, before ever reaching the actual fact about the products of services.
Jay Gronlund put together some things that you should have in mind when you build your B2B marketing campaign. Let’s take a look:
- Customer Research – you should do a deep research on your client and their main purchase drivers, including emotional motivations, will provide insights on new ways to connect and nurture more trust..
- Company Brand – in B2B, the individual product or service brands are not nearly as important as the corporate brand equity, so this must contain relevant, emotional promises. You should be able to answer your possible buyer these questions: Can I believe in this company? Can I trust them?, Will they deliver on their promises?.
- Storytelling – perhaps the most powerful tool for building confidence and a loyal relationship is to tell a personal story that reiterates key values and emotional benefits which are also an integral part of the corporate brand (e.g. to be used in websites, advertising, promotional material, sales pitches, etc.), ideally reflecting insights identified in customer research to ensure they are relevant to the buyer as well.
- Social Media – peer feedback and recommendations with these new interactive media options are having a greater impact on purchase decisions today. Social media also offers an ideal way for vendors to build their one-to-one customer relationships, assuming the emotional promises are aligned with the corporate brand.
For example at Lander, our main tool is the storytelling. When we did the redesign of our website, the first thing we did was to create a script for a story that our potential clients could relate to.
That’s why we divided our website in three different sections. Each one of the sections spoke to a different stage in the growth of a business, and in turn discussed the features we have that are relevant to a business at that particular stage.
Through this framework, we were able to convey our company values, the principal benefits of our product, and appeal to the motivations of our customers by showcasing the different situations they are facing and how we can improve their business.
B2B buyers take their decision based on data and significant statistics. However, underneath the rational aspect lies emotions. If you get your B2B buyers emotionally engaged, it will be really hard to them to pay attention to the logic aspect when they have to take the final decision. That’s why you consider how emotions play into your B2B content strategy.
Juan Pablo is Marketing Manager at Lander, the Landing Page platform. He has a degree in Public Relations and is a digital marketing and social media maniac. If he’s not writing something spiffy about CRO he’s probably watching some tv shows