Yes, B2B marketing is businesses marketing to businesses. But when it comes down to who is actually is making the decision, it is still a human being who says yes or no and signs the checks. This means that B2B marketers still need to appeal to individual human emotions, communications, and reasoning.
Taking marketing back to a human level can help create engaging campaigns that not only showcase a company’s value to other businesses, but also promotes a human connection that just can’t be created between organizations.
Individual Human Emotions
Pulling at a user’s emotions, when done in the right way, can be a great part of a B2B marketing campaign. While posting photos of puppies and rainbows on a Facebook page isn’t going to bring the target audience of most companies, showcasing the company culture, employees, and even a few well-crafted light-hearted jokes or photos can show the right face of the business.
This is because, at a very basic level, businesses should want to be places that humans want to do business with. Coming across as relevant is helpful in any industry and showcases personal value for each person a business is exposed to.
Take, for example, this Valentine’s Day Facebook post by Wells Fargo:
The bank and financing giant not only managed to create a call-to-action to individual users, but they also managed to tie in small businesses that “deserve love.” This keeps their small business services top-of-mind and shows that they believe small businesses are a crucial part of a community. Small businesses owners like this kind of attention. And Wells Fargo did it without being too disingenuous, pushy, or cheesy.
Communicating Professionalism and Trust
Trust is another strong emotion that feeds into B2B marketing. An aspect of the purchase decision in B2B is that when the main decision-maker is choosing a business, they are recommending that business to their co-workers and often, their boss.
This means that B2B marketers should also showcase their professionalism and trustworthiness. An individual must trust the business they are deciding to use at their own company.
According to Patrick Murphy of Silicon Cloud, businesses can build trust with their potential clients by listening, involving the client, and making a personal connection. This is usually done face-to-face, but can also be done via marketing strategy as well.
By listening to comments and input via social media, articles, and blog posts, businesses can showcase their professionalism by responding in a useful and respectful manner (no matter what the initial feedback may be). This also highlights communication of a business. If marketers are good at responding to social media and online feedback, then changes are they will also be great at communicating with their clients.
Appealing to a Sense of Reasoning
Another personal aspect of B2B marketing is appealing to an individual’s personal sense of reason. By offering concrete facts through marking campaigns, individuals are more likely to be swayed to utilize the product or service as well. Facts like, “95% of our customers say they would use our service again” or personal testimonials by other companies can convince potential leads that the business is worth a try:
These spell out a previous history of success and show that other companies have trusted the business and its services or products.
Marketers can also offer incentives to take the pressure off making a permanent decision to work with their company. This could include free trials, money-back guarantees, and discounts or additional services for signing up.
There are many psychological benefits of these types of offers.
Pricing Intelligently’s blog cites two studies that have proven that consumers are willing to pay more for a product once they interact with it (the endowment effect), and that we all avoid acquiring losses versus gains, as our emotional reaction to a loss is twice as worse as our emotional reaction to gaining something (loss aversion).
This is why free trials can make users feel more comfortable with taking the first step in the conversion process.
Utilizing humans’ emotions, reasoning, and need to have trust in a business can help B2B marketers be more successful than if they simply focused on the businesses they are trying to target. By building up a profile of their ideal decision-maker who works in their industry, they can begin to appeal to their human side, instead of attempting to make a sale as a business to a business.
Screenshots via Wells Fargo’s Facebook page and signup.hootsuite.com taken 2/18/2014
About Kelsey Jones
Kelsey Jones is a writer and search/social media marketing consultant as MoxieDot and Managing Editor of Search Engine Journal. She enjoys writing and consuming all kinds of content, both in digital and tattered paperback form. Connect with Kelsey on Twitter @wonderwall7.