Rational vs Emotional

Psychology of Choice for B2B Marketing

Addressing personal values matters in B2B marketing — more than most might think. In fact, research from Motista and ThinkGoogle shows that B2B brands have more emotional bonds with their customers than B2C brands. Their findings, which involved researching more than 3,000 brands, showed that B2B brands had emotional connections with around 50% of their customers and B2C brands had that coveted connection with only 10% – 40%.

So how do you get someone emotional about buying accounting software? Ordering a machine repair? Paper supplies and other products and services that are not known for creating warm fuzzies?

Its actually really simple: You don’t.

You get them excited about what really matters? Self actualization.

Remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? And that little tiny part at the apex of the pyramid he labeled “actualization”? Well, whether we get there or not, we aspire to be there. One way or another. Down deep, we aspire to do something greater than our parents did. Greater than most think we can do. Greater than our current routine?

We want to be that next great writer. Artist. Rapper. Comic. Or top-achieving business executive.

We think about these things, and then we go right back to the moment at-hand. Being the best we can be at what we are doing day-to-day. This is what we marketers need to focus on. First.

If we can provide customers and prospects with the hope that we can help them succeed at their jobs, get a promotion, maintain stability to provide for their families, achieve their short- and long-term goals, we will capture their attention.

And if we can provide more than hope, such as actionable advice that helps them refine their skills, do something better than before, we will trigger that very important response — dopamine rushes — that creates emotional bonds and passion that will be hard for anyone to break.

How do you go about doing the above? Ask your customers. Instead of asking about ways you can better serve them, keep their business, and so on, ask what they need help with beyond your products.

Start with:

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  1. What are your greatest challenges each day?
  2. How are you being evaluated for your job performance?
  3. What skill gaps do you feel are holding you back?

Then create materials and activities that help them overcome these challenges. If you can do this, you will create emotional bonds that are much stronger than price, and even convenience to some degree.

It’s true that whomever provides the guidance, insights and confidence that make a difference in our world becomes a partner, not a supplier. And that distinction is what creates those bonds that secure loyalty, sales and marketing ROI.

Note: this article first appeared December 2018 at TargetMarketingmag.com.

Jeanette McMurtry
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