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Why is Emotion Still Overlooked in B2B Video Marketing?

In 1923 Claude Hopkins announced that, "advertising is salesmanship"; a proclamation that...

In 1923 Claude Hopkins announced that, "advertising is salesmanship"; a proclamation that has since been attached to the rationalist marketer’s method. Convincing a prospect of the benefits of your products is ultimately an exercise in appealing to the logical decision making parts of the brain.

And yet, there is arguably far more emotional capital invested in a business purchasing decision than a consumer one. For one, the costs involved tend to be astronomically higher and professional reputations are often put on the line.

On top of that, most consumer goods and services come with money back guarantees or cooling off periods, whereas a business procurement decision tends to require forward planning and preparation (such as the hiring of project managers or the requisition of IT services) before the purchase of any such product or service can be implemented and rolled out. These kinds of costs are often unrecoverable, should something go wrong.

A recent study from Google and CEB’s Marketing Leadership Council, working with marketing research firm Motista, made some eye-opening findings on how emotional connections can play in B2B decision making. They sum up the perennial emotion / logic debate in marketing nicely:


“Forging emotional connections with consumers has long been at the heart of business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing. For business-to-business (B2B) marketers, it’s not so simple. They ultimately need to reach business decision makers, but those customers deal with the influences of purchasing committees, third-party buying consultants and corporate procurement processes. This framework distances marketer from customer and assumes a ‘rational’ frame that’s devoid of emotion.”


Video has traditionally served as the perfect medium to for emotional appeals in marketing and advertising. The rise of B2C brand marketing and the explosion of online video content we’ve seen in the last few years have therefore gone hand in hand, with the undeniable emotional potential of the latter creating a perfect platform for the former.

But with 68% of B2B companies still lacking any video brand guidelines and 73% not having a presence on Google, it’s clear that the B2B marketing community is still lagging far behind the B2C brand marketing curve.

In various surveys, many B2B marketers cite lack of budget, a shortage of in-house talent and a lack of creative direction to explain this deficit. But alongside these financial and logistical constraints, there has arguably existed a historical prejudice to eschew the kind of emotional appeal so perfectly encapsulated by a lot of B2C video marketing.

Take a look at the video Hurricane Media created for Astrium Services below. It’s a prime example of how emotion and logical appeal can be fused into a very powerful and compelling corporate brand identity.

Airbus Defence and Space: Picture the Future from Hurricane Media on Vimeo.

Whilst facts and hard data are of huge significance in the decision making process that goes on in any corporate procurement process, the emotional grab, is still essential if you are to create a powerful brand presence in your sector and ultimately win both the hearts and minds of the decision makers within it.