Historically, we’ve been programmed to think that selling to a B2B buyer is very different to trying to win over a consumer. We’re told that “a B2B purchase is based more on logic” while a “consumer's purchase often is based more on emotion” and that our marketing strategies and tactics should reflect these differences. But, aren’t we actually talking about the same people?
By that, I mean that we’re all consumers. We all live in a world where brands are looking to engage us with their creative, emotional, thought-provoking marketing. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But rarely is B2C marketing boring – it simply can’t afford to be.
Can we say the same about B2B marketing?
It doesn’t appear so. About half (48%) of B2B purchase decision makers find B2B advertising boring, according to a recent survey by WHM. The results, compiled by Propeller Insights, show that a similar number (49%) also feel that most B2B websites are not as interesting and creative as consumer websites.
The uninspiring efforts of B2B firms has got the vast majority (82%) of buyers wishing that B2B advertising had the creativity associated with B2C advertising. A meagre 22% of respondents said the advertising they see often prompts them to take a next step towards making a purchase.
What if B2B marketing took a leaf out of B2C's book?
The survey suggests that B2B firms would do well to ramp up the creativity and tone down the hard sell. More than three-quarters (81%) of the business buyers quizzed, felt they would make better decisions if B2B advertising did a better job of engaging them.
In other words, buyers would be prepared to spend more time assessing your offering if it connected with them on an emotional level. In short: make buyers feel something.
Commenting on the findings, WHM partner Thomas Whalen said that “so much B2B marketing falls flat”, and that firms need to seriously rethink their strategy.
“Of course, we understand why tech companies get excited about pushing the features of their product,” he added, “and there's a time and a place for that. But the truth is, the vast majority of buying decisions are emotional.”
Do your B2B buyers buy into you?
Before buyers can buy into what you’re selling, they need to buy into you. Only once you’ve won them over with your values and personality, can you start to think about explaining how your product works.
All to often, there’s a desire to rush into execution. It’s understandable – you want to get going. But take a moment. Think about your buyer and their decision-making journey. What messages will resonate with them? How will you connect with them? How will you speak to them through your marketing? What’s your story?
Does this softer sell chime with your marketing strategy? If not, speak with us to understand how best to create a strategy that connects emotionally with your target audience. A strategy that puts your prospects at the very heart of everything.