Emotion is Vital to Marketing
I read a very interesting article a few weeks ago that stated that B2B advertising is currently quite ineffective. The article then detailed how the important emotional elements just don’t tend to be there in B2B. And I couldn’t agree more. So I thought I’d explore why emotion is so important.
I’ve mainly worked in B2B throughout my career and I’ve always pushed for there to be emotion in the marketing work. It can be tough to get this point of view across, especially in some of the more technical environments. The people around you think differently, and emotion seems so flaky. They’ll argue surely it’s better to detail the pros and cons of the products or services and state everything clearly. Isn’t everything else just a bit of gloss?
I’ve had many conversations like this with product developers, engineers and more financially minded people. Numbers and stats belong in their world and from where they’re sitting that should be the slant that the marketing takes. We’re all in business. Products, budgets, deadlines, that’s the driving force behind decisions. Does it really matter to a person in business what product they use, as long as they tick the boxes for their job or client? In business do we really make emotional decisions?
The argument that I’ve always made to everyone around me who has questioned such things (and that has been a lot throughout the last twenty years) is that we might be selling to a business, but we’re not selling to an office or a concrete building or a balance sheet. We’re still selling to people. And it’s impossible for people to make completely unemotional decisions.
I’m sure you’ll agree that business is all about relationships. And with relationships, you can’t exclude basic human interaction, which is built on emotion. Also, if there was no emotion then we’d have no loyalty. That’s a totally subjective response. Even before you delve into marketing, it’s hard to ignore that businesses exist through human to human interaction.
A few years ago someone first said to me that they weren’t interested in B2B or B2C, in the 21st century it needs to be all H2H marketing: human to human. Because it doesn’t matter whether we’re in a business, by ourselves, or with family and friends as a consumer, it’s all about people.
If you were going to cold call someone to convince them to buy your product, you’d probably know straight away that you’d need to get to know that person, get them to warm to you, and find a way to make what you were selling sound interesting. It’s exactly the same across all elements of your marketing.
There’s a temptation in B2B marketing to believe that because it’s business it has to be more formal. It has to be seen as less chatty and less ‘consumer-ish’. And it’s true, there may very well be a need for a more formal approach. But that doesn’t mean it needs to lack emotion. We’ve all met formal people. They still have a personality.
The most vital thing for any business – with absolutely no exception – is that is has a really solid brand. I don’t mean logo, I mean brand values and a clear identity. You can’t do this without giving your company some personality, and whatever that personality ends up being, you’ll immediately start to create emotion. It’s at the foundation of every successful marketing strategy. Trust me.
Next time you’re doing any marketing work, remember that you’re not talking to a computer. You’re ultimately talking to people. If you keep that in mind and inject some emotion into what you’re doing, you’ll always get a better response.
People buy from people. There’s no escaping it. So let that personality shine through!