Marketing Is Personal – Emotion Beats Promotion By 2X

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I have always believed that B2B Marketing is personal. And that brands need to connect with buyers on a personal, emotional and human level. Now we have the research to prove it.

We all have to thank the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) for bringing us one of the most used statistics in B2B marketing: 57% of the purchase process is complete before buyers talk to a supplier.

Now the CEB is helping to explain what we can do with the realization that promotional marketing and solution selling are dead with their report “From Promotion To Emotion.”  They surveyed more than 3,000 B2B buyers, 70 marketers and 15 academics, thought leaders and consultants across 7 different B2B industries.

From Promotion to Emotion. Here’s what you need to know:

  • 86% of  B2B buyers  think that we are all selling basically the same stuff. Yep. That’s right. You’ve been commoditized.
  • Brands that can connect with their buyers on an emotional level will see 2 times more impact than  B2B Marketers who are still trying to sell business or functional value.

Some additional insights:

  • B2B Branding works – those who have a “high brand connection” are around 60% more likely to consider, purchase and even pay a premium over the “low brand connection” competition
  • Across nearly all B2B industries, the “Unique Selling Proposition” (USP) is dead:  86% of B2B buyers see “no real difference between suppliers and value the difference enough to pay for it?”
  • Features, functions and business outcome” marketing has a 21% lift in perceived brand benefits
  • Professional, social and emotional benefits” marketing has a 42% lift (hence the 2x vs. business value)
  • Buyers feel a much closer personal connection to their B2B brands than to consumer brands.
  • This is mainly due to the “perceived risks” inherent in the B2B purchase. In other words, you will likely not lose your job for buying a hamburger at McDonalds but you might for buying the wrong internet router for your business.
  • Buyers who engaged with your video and social media content were twice as likely to become customers.

How To Make B2B Marketing Personal

According to the Corporate Executive Board, the best actions B2B marketers can take to make B2B Marketing personal:

  • Understand customer personal goals and emotions. B2B Marketers need to use open observation of customers to spot non-verbal or contextual cues that reveal underlying emotions.
  • Craft brand messages that convey personal value by using your customers’ natural language not your internal jargon. Keyword research is still a big part of the process to make sure you are seeing what terms will resonate with the larger market.
  • Drive action by reminding buyers that their current pains are worse than the pain of change.
  • Teach customers something new about their business needs then lead them to your differentiators.

Let me know what you think in the comments below. And please follow along on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook  and Google+ or  Subscribe to the Marketing Insider Blog for regular updates.

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Michael Brenner is a globally-recognized keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and a top CMO influencer by Forbes. Please follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and Subscribe here for regular updates.

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