In my previous post, we discussed the importance of hiring a CMO who understands the buying process. Someone who can identify the customer’s pain points and what they need to move forward at each stage of the buying process. Now, let’s consider the role of emotion in influencing the buyers’ decision and how that applies.
Appealing to Emotions
Although it’s easy to think otherwise, emotions play a role in both B2B and B2C marketing. And, yes, that even applies to industrial buyers! When industrial buyers won’t take a risk, that can be an emotional decision.
They don’t want to risk the consequences that come with a bad decision—being viewed poorly in their job, adding even more tasks to an already full workload, or even losing their job by going with the lesser-known alternative. After all, haven’t we all heard that “nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM?”
And haven’t we all worked with companies that are more expensive because it’s easier to do business with them? On paper, something might not be the right choice, but if it’s the safe or comfortable choice, it just might win.
Our CMO survey indicated that, just like B2C marketing, industrial marketers need to build loyalty and find ways to stand out in both the customer's mind and heart.
Trust is a big factor. When I led Marketing for Kevlar, customers chose it over newer products in part because they trusted it. After all, this is a product that saves lives or makes their products more durable. Why take the risk on something new? But trust isn’t just about knowing something works. It’s about knowing that you’re a company I want to do business with—even if you don’t have the best claims or the best prices.
Making Life Easier
Often, if a product or company makes life easier for the buyer, it will win. For example, I work with a rubber components supplier. For the component they import, their customers spec the products and could find other ways to get them produced.
But this company has built strong supplier relationships and even has a team oversees to ensure quality control. And, they stay on top of emerging import issues like tariffs—something many companies simply don’t have time to do. That makes life easier for their buyers.
Both B2B buyers and consumers will avoid risk and are willing to pay for convenience, ease of use and trust.
I also work with a company that manufactures industrial batteries. Battery technologies haven’t changed in decades—and many industrial batteries are actually manufactured (and possibly rebranded) by a handful of manufacturers. So, the product category is not particularly differentiated.
What does make specific manufacturers and resellers stand out is the relationships they have with customers—especially if they can make life easier for them. This company is known for their responsiveness. If a customer calls, they work with them to quickly resolve their pain. That makes customers’ lives easier—and they reward that with their loyalty.
What to Look For
You may recall from my last blog that we were exploring the similarities and differences between B2B and B2C marketing—and whether that means CEOs need to look for the same qualities in your B2B marketing leaders as you would for B2C. As you can see, even the most industrial marketing has much in common with B2C.
Hence, the potential exists in nearly all industrial settings for a strategic marketing leader to understand buyer behaviors and emotions and construct market strategies to drive significant growth.
So, when considering your CMO, I’d look for experienced professionals who think about the decision maker’s personal and business objectives at each point in the buying process.
Look for professionals who go beyond the functional benefits and consider how different solutions—or not doing anything—help the decision maker further their personal and business objectives—then consider the role, if any, your product or service plays in that. Which, of course, means…
They have to understand what each buyer is trying to achieve, not just what they’re trying to buy.
The bottom line? The type of marketing professional you hire isn’t about who you are, it’s about what you and your prospective customers really want to accomplish—and it will, in large part, determine your growth potential.
In Parts 1 and 2, we’ve examined the importance of understanding the buying process and the role of emotion in B2B marketing. In my next post, we’ll look at some additional examples and consider the value of going beyond traditional sales support and investing in marketing for growth.