The world of B2B is stereotypically based on an overload of reason and logic, almost to a fault. The stereotype comes from a good place – orders made to scale cannot afford to be wrong. Companies are spending more money, they are trying to find long-term supply chain partners, and the purchases have larger customer facing implications as well.
However, the concept of relationship marketing has found its way into the B2B market. Individual prospects are not the only customer type who wants personalized service from an accessible partner. Other companies are looking for this kind of treatment as well. After all, the largest company is really only a bunch of individuals.
Let’s take a look at whether emotional marketing should play a part in the B2B landscape.
Prospects Admitting Emotion Plays a Part in Large Purchases
Long-term business relationships are built on trust-based marketing. Most people do not consider “trust” a true emotion, at least in the traditional business world. Supposedly, trust can be quantified and based on past performance. However, as we get more data on the subject, we find that trust is one of the most emotional states that a business can take on.
At the beginning of the B2B customer journey, a business cannot truly quantify the quality of a potential partner. Nor do many companies have the time or the budget to test every competitor in the market. What does this mean? The partner that a company eventually chooses may or may not be the best choice based on quality, but that partner somehow made itself known and trusted despite a lack of information on the total market.
Building Brand Trust
It seems research tells us that emotion in the B2B market is more about building a trustworthy brand than it is about closing a sale. B2B emotions are not the same as B2C emotion, either. Individual consumers are directed and influenced by things such as excitement, nostalgia, desire, happiness and spontaneity. These are not the emotions that business marketers want to cultivate between companies – one, because it doesn’t work, and two, the emotions that build trust are more long term.
Stability and credibility are more along the lines of what a B2B marketer wants to cultivate. These better communicate long-term value and a strong personal connection than short-term emotions such as excitement. Potential business prospects also don’t like to feel manipulated. Long-term emotion allows a B2B prospect to connect with a potential partner while still basing the final decision on rational thought and product performance.
Keeping Engagement Strong
The B2B buying cycle is much longer than the consumer buying cycle. This means sellers must keep prospects engaged for a longer period of time. Long term emotions are a great way to make this happen.
As a prospect vets partners for quality and service, keeping an open line of communication-based on trust ensures that customer will always give the potential partner a chance to answer questions, overcome objections and offer a better sales package.
Is there room for emotional marketing in B2B circles? Absolutely. Is it the same type of emotional marketing that B2C circles use? Absolutely not. Learning the difference between the two journeys is essential to B2B companies that want to keep potential customers engaged.