The Human Factor: Creating Emotional Connections with your B2B Audience

Want to make an emotional connection with your B2B audience on your next marketing campaign? You’ll need a deep understanding of who your customers really are—and you might have to go against convention to reach them.

Consumers are bombarded by thousands of ads per day. Standing out is no easy task. An emotional connection to your brand is sincere, powerful and hard to shake. It inspires trust and loyalty and goes beyond that fleeting moment of recognition.

The Human Factor: Creating Emotional Connections with your B2B Audience

B2B or B2C, it’s all Human-to-Human (H2H)
The general perception is that, in B2B, business customers make decisions solely based on cost (i.e. getting more for your money). However, a surprising CEB study shows us that’s just not the case. It turns out businesses are even more invested in emotional currency than individual consumers…which only makes sense, seeing as consumers can return or cancel if they make a mistake, but a company-wide service, software, goods purchase or other investment can represent a huge investment in time and money that’s hard to reverse.

GE has a great example—they’re bent on making brilliant emotional connections to high-level concepts by humanizing new ideas in energy production and cutting-edge technology. (In some cases, quite literally). While these ideas may seem like appeals directly to the consumer, individuals don’t buy power directly from GE, power companies do. The purpose of these emotional campaigns is to build human-to-human consumer trust, strengthen their brand and inspire confidence. GE never forgets that businesses are populated by real people—and at the end of the day, people are making decisions for business growth.

Here’s how you can make that real, emotional connection with your audience, even if you’re B2B…

Hit Them Right in the Feels
Cheerios goes right for the heart. In their eating breakfast with Nana commercial, a son wonders if eating Cheerios for breakfast is like eating breakfast with his (presumably departed) grandma, because, as his mother says, “Cheerios has pretty much been the same forever.”

The B2B Approach: Revisit your favorite customer satisfaction stories. How did you make your customer’s life easier that day? How did you make that customer feel? Retell these stories on your website or company blog.

Offer an Invitation to Sit at the Cool Kids Table
Consumers attach to brands because people like to feel like they’re part of something—like they’re members of an exclusive club. Many brands have created an emotional connection by finding new ways to make customers feel hip, cool and fashionable. One of the most iconic campaigns in history features celebrities and athletes sporting milk mustaches or growing up to meet success. “Got Milk?” is a simple slogan with a powerful message: If you want a body like this, you gotta drink your moo juice.

The B2B Approach: Loyalty programs and repeat customer incentives work wonders: your customers feel valued and appreciated and you get more repeat business. It’s win-win. Invite your customers into your exclusive club with an offer they can’t refuse.

Tap Into Social Conscience
Whole Foods goes right for social consciousness, emphasizing sustainability, organic eating and giving back, speaking directly to popular social causes. For example, if you bought your Christmas tree from Whole Foods, they made a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation. (“You buy a tree, we plant a tree.”) With social media dominated by alarming messages about dying bees, meat full of hormones and global warming, it’s the perfect time for messages about responsibility, sustainability and healthy eating. If the state of the world’s food supply concerns you, shopping at Whole Foods just feels like the right thing to do.

The B2B Approach: Do you have a page on your website dedicated to your company’s values and the causes you support? Even if your biggest contribution last year was sponsoring a kids’ softball team, there’s a story in that and we guarantee your customers are interested in how your business contributes to your community.

Emotional appeal isn’t just for B2C, it’s also a powerful tool for B2B marketers who understand their audience. Use it to build trust and loyalty as you connect with your customers at every stage of the buy cycle.