It’s all ‘Hammers and Nails’ in B2B marketing
You’ve heard that saying right…’When all you have is a hammer the whole world looks like a nail?’ Well let me tell you it’s alive and kicking in B2B marketing on an unprecedented scale – and it’s a ticking time bomb for every B2B brand. Let me explain.
Every B2B brand is comfortable having a conversation or leading a marketing campaign with what they do. ‘Buy more of our amazing software’, ‘Our fleet management solutions will save you money’ – you get the picture.
The problem is it’s dull, soulless, myopic and, more to the point, we’ve heard it all before. B2B brands need to be less B2B and more human in the way they engage buyers and decision makers. They need to find stories that blend emotional as well as rational content in order to compete better.
When it comes to B2B sales and marketing, trying to appeal to our emotional, sensual and caring side has often been a graveyard for the B2B marketing industry. We poke fun, we sneer we will literally do anything but admit we can be persuaded or seduced by brands that appeal to us on an emotional level. The truth however is different.
At the awareness and interest stage of the B2B buying cycle (AIDA) emotional driven content is what grabs people’s attention and makes them feel warm and fuzzy about your brand.
Research suggests that in 50-60 per cent of all B2B purchases, your prospects have already made their mind up about which companies they want to work with before they even approach you. So it really is a battle for hearts and minds at the earliest stage of the buying cycles. But we know that right? We’ve been talking about emotional selling and B2B marketing for several years. The problem is most brands still run scared of leveraging emotion in their B2B marketing. The emotional dimension of your B2B brand works on three levels:
1. Brand: More and more B2B decision makers are buying stories rather than products and services. Stories make it simple for prospects to understand who you are, what you do and most importantly why you do it. The problem is; most B2B brands are consumed with their own complexity and struggle to articulate a view about the world that transcends the functional nature of what they do. It’s time to be less B2B and be more human.
2. Employees: The best brands are built from the inside out, they are people powered and when your employees are trusted to be the front-line of your brand then great things can happen. Your employees are increasingly becoming the ‘go-to’ source for advice, information and expertise from prospects and customers. What are you doing to give them a voice both inside and outside of your company?
3. Customers: It’s little wonder the latest research from Google points out that a well crafted personal value proposition is 50 per cent more likely to get you on the pitch/tender list than a well crafted corporate value proposition. Competing on technology, customer service and other business benefits is no longer good enough. We all live busy lives and gravitate towards brands that show empathy for our personal situation. Business decision makers buy on emotion and justify with fact.
The bottom line is that B2B brands need to get comfortable with finding the emotional selling points that complement the functional and logical product and services they make.