B2B Emotive Marketing

Emotions are valuable, and value is emotional.

Value is what you advertise. Ignore features, benefits, functions, the color of the paint on the server chassis or even ROI. These may help create value or close deals, but they are not value itself, and people buy value. Your boss doesn’t value your protoplasm, and if he does there may be a sexual harassment suit in his future. He values what you can help him achieve, which in turn should be what your company needs to achieve.

The marketing question is what is valued? Rarely is it a functional process or a technical specification. Outcome is the center of value. Take AwayFind, a company that alerts you when you have an important email waiting. They have many features which are not valuable. The outcome however – to not be enslaved by needing to constantly check email – is very valuable. It is freedom to focus on other issues without the risk of missing critical communications. Notice the key concepts are not functional – they are personal and emotional. Concepts like freedom and risk come from the gut, and that is what motivates people most strongly.

In fact, communications based on emotions work better than either logic-based or mixed emotional/rational communications. This should surprise nobody. Politicians evoke emotional connections in every speech, which works better than deep policy dives. Sex sells in no small part because it taps into millions of years of human evolution that cross-connects instincts with emotions. Proctor and Gamble’s home page has a photo of a mom and her toddler boy in a tender moment, which says nothing about the cleansing power of Tide detergent.

So why does nearly every B2B company continue selling features when battle hardened CEOs perceive value in the same way as actual human beings? There are exceptions to the dearth of B2B emotive marketing. Take the Williamson Printing Corporation, a company that basically runs large presses mainly for brokers. They could lead with the types of printing equipment in which they have invested, or the color accuracy of their offset processes. Instead their landing page is littered with words like “meticulous”, “decisively”, “accurate”, “finest”, “seasoned” and “exceptional.” These are very emotionally biased words that set a brand expectation about Williamson before you ever delve into their offering.

Some global B2B enterprises get it. John Deere tractors are sold using words like “design”, “versatile” and “flexible.” Dow chemical says “thrive” and “progress in every drop.” Even Rosemont Copper, a mining company, speaks of “renewable”, “future” and “progressive” on their home page. This all goes to the heart of branding, but even deeper into every product and service.

Sell value first in your headlines. Once people emotionally agree that you are worth consideration, then ease them into speeds and feeds.

Read more:

True Value – This white paper explains what value is from the technology customer’s perspective.

Got Message – Learn the mysteries of appealing to both logic and emotions in this white paper.

B2B Executive Loyalty – Learn how to tap into loyalty triggers in people who own the budgets for B2B relationships.


Speak up! What are your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.