Why you should be using emotion as a marketing tool
Emotion, whether positive or negative, drives our decisions as consumers. Marketers have relied on human emotion as an influencer since the dawn of advertising, designing campaigns, slogans and imagery that evoke emotion and ultimately make us want to buy.
Human emotion remains the primary influencer in purchasing decisions
In a B2C (business to consumer) context, emotion is a reliable and staple facet for the vast majority of marketing campaigns. Think of the host of purchasing decisions that are made on the back of an emotional trigger – buying a family home, buying a family car, a family pet or holiday, insurance for your home, pet, holiday, life… I could go on.
So what about using emotion in business to business marketing?
It is generally considered that purchasing decisions that are less personal remain unaffected by emotion – such as those decisions seen in business to business transactions. The idea that B2B marketing, such as marketing for manufacturing companies need be devoid of emotion is a common misconception, leaving an opportunity for businesses and manufacturers to influence their target market.
Emotion works for B2B marketing
Whilst the companies you do business with will have a corporate or professional face, they are also made up of people. And whether you’re selling to a multinational conglomerate or a burgeoning success-story, one or more of those people are in charge of deciding whether to choose you, or a competitor.
To succeed, your company has to be the right fit for your client, offering the right figures and facts, offering what they’re looking for. But the fact remains that a massive portion of the decisions made by those responsible for purchasing are effected by emotive responses.
How emotion can humanise your brand
People will queue up to buy a new television when their old one works just fine and buy t-shirts with little logo’s on when an unbranded version would be half the price, for the same t-shirt. All because emotion has been used to influence their purchasing decisions.
B2C companies succeed in presenting themselves as personal, desirable brands through using a fairly predictable set of rules. So why should it be different for B2B sales?
Here are some tried and tested techniques to help inject a little emotion into your marketing message.
Leave it out! Well, maybe until last
Desire dictates decision, but so does price. Speak to anyone about which factors effect their choices for purchasing and the cost will be at the top of many lists. Some people pore over reviews, analysing all of the information, whereas some people make snap decisions because ‘it’s such a good deal!’
Outside of the consumer market, purchasing decisions are a little more methodical. Business to business customers are often under pressure of a budget. They’ll need to know all of the facts, features and capabilities so they can compare products, services or brands before making their decision.
If you list your prices from the beginning, whether as a core page on your website, in a pitch to a client or in any form of ad – you have rendered any subsequent marketing efforts inert. Once the cost is out in the open, your audience will judge you on that alone, instead of engaging with your well planned and carefully crafted marketing message.
Whether you’re competitive on price or not, hold back that information for yourself and sell them your message first, use emotion so they feel invested in you, leave the pricing until later.
What’s the story?
A good story draws you in, you’re invested in the characters and you need to know what’s going to happen.
Make a story out of your content and your audience will want to read more, they will feel involved, like they collaborated with you on this marketing message. Storytelling is used frequently in B2C marketing but in order to apply to a B2B context, the key is in knowing who you’re selling to.
Owner? Director? Marketing manager? What specific challenges do they face? Now, craft a story involving their issues and present your company or brand as the hero in your story, offering the solution to their problems.
In order to create an emotional connection with your audience – try storytelling.
You don’t have services or features, they’re benefits
If B2B customers are the magpie’s we set out to attract with our dazzling wares, collecting all of the facts, features and prices for comparison, they are going to be comparing you to your competitors.
Question: How do you come out on top of their comparison?
Answer: Emotion. Present the facts by all means, but also how your company can solve their problems.
This is a practical example of how to use storytelling in its simplest form. If you own a canning factory, you don’t just can goods for your customers. You offer cost effective and innovative packaging solutions to help maximise their profit margins by improving both shelf appeal and life.
Don’t present the features of your company or brand as features, they’re benefits that your customer needs in order to solve the pain points they face within their role.
B2B marketing overlooks social proof, and shouldn’t
In B2C marketing, social proof is relied on as a sales tactic because it plays on peoples emotions and opinions. Social proof refers to any form of review, testimonial or endorsement from someone outside of the company or organisation, an impartial third party.
Sometimes it is glaringly obvious when you read a review online which has been written by a company’s mum or through a fictitious account, but most of the time we look to reviews and testimonials as a source of reassurance.
Truth will out!
More often than not, we trust the opinion of a fellow consumer over the company’s marketing message. Trust is an emotive response and one which is earned. Whether B2B or B2C, customers will decide whether a company is trustworthy on their social proof.
B2B companies such as manufacturing companies can look to utilise social proof by spreading honest case studies, testimonials and reviews throughout their website and by embarking on a targeted social media campaign.
Whichever industry or sector your business falls into, consider using this guide to involve some emotive content into your marketing campaign. Keep in mind that behind every company is at least one person if not many, and you can influence their purchasing decisions through humanising your brand in an honest and truthful way.