If you knew of a marketing solution that was twice as effective as any of your previous campaigns, would you implement it?

Of course you would. So go ahead. Read on.

Google research, in conjunction with CEB has revealed that when a B2B campaign contains elements that appeal to a buyer’s emotional responses, and not just rational ones, it is considerably more effective. For example, if a buyer sees a personal value in making a purchase from you, as opposed to a value that benefitsthe business alone, then they are twice as likely to be influenced.

The research also found that if your prospect has a high emotional connection with your brand or company, they are five times more likely to consider buying from you, 13 times more likely to purchase and 30 times more likely to pay premium.


So go on, get emotional.

“Emotional” in a B2B context though, doesn’t mean create a tear-jerker of a campaign like the ones that were used by John Lewis at Christmas, or the complex emotional responses triggered by a powerful cancer charity commercial.

Getting emotional in B2B increasingly means figuring out the emotional drivers (or inhibitors) of your target audience, and playing to them.

So what are these emotional drivers and inhibitors?

Well you need to use your own customer insight (and if you don’t have this, you need to go and get it as a matter of urgency) to identify your customers’ specific motivators and pain points, but a good, general overview can be found in the following, which comes from a survey amongst LinkedIn marketing communications professionals.


B2B buying, far from being the rational decision-making process that it is commonly assumed to be, involves an often complex network of emotion that’s linked to the outcome – or anticipated outcome of the final purchase.

That’s because B2B buying often carries with it a huge weight of responsibility. Unlike B2C, where the impact (good or bad) of a purchase may only affect the purchaser themselves, the B2B buying process can involve multiple stakeholders and, where the largest purchases are concerned, the outcome very often impacts the entire business.

The B2B buyer who gets it right can end up a hero who has made, or saved, the company significant revenues. Get it wrong and your reputation, or even job, could be on the line.

When 48% of B2B customers say they have walked away from buying a new solution because it was a riskier decision for them, it’s time to find ways to help eliminate those risks. It’s your job to take away the buyer’s fear of failure, and of making a wrong decision.

This is where those qualities of reliability, stability and trust come into play. Use story-telling in the form of real life case studies or testimonials to put your prospects at ease and the proof they need to back up their decisions.

Go further. Identify ways to provide personal gain. Remember, a perceived personal value has twice the impact of a perceived business value. Play on the credibility that a successful purchase gives to the buyer – find previous customers who have climbed the career ladder or reaped financial rewards. Or, when considering offers and incentives, make sure your buyer gains on a personal level and that it’s not merely a business gain; 71% of buyers who see a personal value will go on to purchase a product – and 68% will buy, even if the price is higher (Google/CEB).

If you need further proof that the emotional approach works, the Google/CEB research shows that B2B buyers are actually more emotionally connected to the brands they purchase than consumers are to theirs!




But a word of caution: don’t get carried away on a sea of emotion. The emotion may be the trigger that starts your customer on their journey, but you will still need robust rational reasons to convince them (or, quite often, for them to convince their stakeholders) that your product is the right one. When rational drivers are used in conjunction with emotional ones, your message is even stronger.

Think of emotion as your method of getting prospects into the funnel. It’s the thing that gets you noticed and on to a shortlist. The rational drivers come into their own further along the buyer journey.

We may be in a digital world, but it’s still a human one. And business to business is made up of living, breathing, thinking, feeling people. Never forget that.

Got an emotional B2B story to tell or opinion to share? Let us know! So go on, get emotional.

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