In B2B Marketing Your Job is to Motivate – by Christopher Ryan

Successful B2B marketing strategies are not those that are clever, win awards, sound really interesting, or get people to pay attention. All of these outcomes are good, but they are not the reason we marketers should spend so much time thinking about our creative platform. Rather, our goal is to drive action. That action may come in a one-step process—where the prospect sees the promotion and buys immediately, or it may be in a series of steps beginning with creating awareness; but in the end, we earn our keep by transforming prospects into customers.

To become a master at generating buying actions, it helps to understand what it is that causes people to buy. And it probably won’t surprise you that people buy products and services to satisfy the same needs and desires that they attempt to satisfy with many of their other daily choices. Whether it is Mr. Joe Consumer buying from home, or Ms. Sally Business Owner purchasing for her company, consumers buy for the following reasons:

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  • To solve a problem
  • To increase knowledge
  • To feel more comfortable
  • To make life easier
  • To become more valuable
  • To satisfy a curiosity
  • To feel better about themselves

Very few people go through a checklist when making a purchase, but there is a process nonetheless. First, they must have a perceived need or desire (not necessarily a genuine need or desire) for what you offer. Then they have to believe that your offering satisfies their requirements, and they must also be convinced that your company is trustworthy and your claims are believable.

To put it another way, prospects have to be satisfied with the basic value proposition—that what they receive by doing business with you is worth as much, or more, than what you are asking them to spend, including money, time, and effort (in other words, the basic value equation). Finally, they must believe that the risk of doing business with you is low or manageable. 

When copywriting, I try to keep in mind that people usually buy with emotion and justify their purchases with logic. This is why advertising that appeals to the emotions is often more successful than that which appeals to logic. So first make your appeal to the emotional side of the prospect, then provide lots of good, logical fact-based reasons to justify the decision already emotionally made. To express this in another way: first sell to the heart, and then the head.  That’s the best way to motivate.

Christopher Ryan
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  • Nate Warren November 29, 2010   Reply →

    A good reminder to temper my writing process with a nod to the emotional realm. Good to hold in mind that my prospect is more than a features-and-benefits analysis machine.

  • Nancy Reed December 1, 2010   Reply →

    This article really talks to what I have believed all along…People make most buying decisions quickly and based upon emotion. As Chris so aptly states, positioning the product to meet the target customer’s emotional needs first, then providing compelling information to minimize buyer’s remorse is by far the best way to optimize sales. So many marketers do fall into just putting features and benefits out there without thought to the emotional side of sales. Don’t forget the imagery and graphics, which can be just as impactful as words to pull your customers in.

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