Marketing Is Personal – Emotion Beats Promotion By 2X

 In Marketing Strategy

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 B2B Marketing Insider Blog for regular updates.

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Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner is the CEO of Marketing Insider Group, former Head of Strategy at NewsCred, and the former VP of Global Content Marketing at SAP. Michael is also the co-author of The Content Formula, a contributor to leading publications like The Economist, Inc Magazine, The Guardian, and Forbes and a frequent speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, social business, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding.  Follow Michael on Twitter (@BrennerMichael)LinkedInFacebook and Google+ and Subscribe to the Marketing Insider.
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Showing 33 comments
  • Jess Fiore

    Emotion evokes a response. Let’s say the ones great at it are beggers, they know that they won’t get anything unless they generate emotion.

    That’s why Telus uses all the cute animals to make people smile.

    • Michael Brenner

      There you go. Making people smile is a great way to people’s hearts and minds.

  • K R Ajay

    hi, Michael…. I fully agree with you i have been in B2B sales/marketing… this approch will lead to long term assocation with customer and they look at us consultant rather than just suppliers

  • Susanne

    Michael,

    Great marketers like leaders need to connect with their audiences/customers. Your blog is spot on with the emotional side of marketing. As Maya Angelou said It’s all about how you make people feel. Storytelling is also a very effective way to connect.
    Susanne
    P.S. The connection needs to be heartfelt.

    • Michael Brenner

      Thanks Susanne, I totally agree. I think it really starts with the intention. If you have the right goal (ie – to help your audience) then you can deliver on the promise of making real connections. Storytelling is just the vehicle but a really powerful one.

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