Why B2B Marketing Is Personal

By Reid Neubert, May 1, 2012
Categories: Marketing

While many people seem to think B2B marketing is a completely different animal from B2C marketing — or vice-versa — they aren’t that different. Sure the tactics used will vary, but they will in different B2C markets as well.

What people forget is that in B2B, you are still marketing to people. It is people in the businesses who make the buying decisions, not just some faceless corporate entity. It is the people you have to connect with in your marketing.

Think about why people in business buy things. There are necessities such as desks and chairs, computers, and office supplies. There are also services from phones and Internet access, accounting, consultants, etc.

It is People Making the Decisions

All of these purchases involve choices … made by people. One person might select cheap, generic furniture, and another high-end pieces. It is partially a budgetary decision, but even within a given budget range, there are always options. This is where it gets personal.

You see, people make buying decisions emotionally. Yes, they do, even in business. Then they justify them rationally. If asked why they made one choice over another, the answer is the rational justification rather than the emotional reasons. We buy into that so the emotional side stays hidden.

Consider some of the emotions that may be involved in B2B decision making:

  1. Worry — This person goes with what appears to be the “safe” choice. If the person is worried the boss will accuse her of spending too much, for instance, she might choose the cheapest option.
  2. Pain relief — This person buys a product or service because  it reduces or eliminates some pain he experiences in the course of doing his job.
  3. CYA (Cover Your Ass) — A difference kind of worry. This person selects the product or service provider that is seen as the most reasonable choice. Ever heard the expression, “No one ever got fired for choosing IBM”? If IBM screws up, how can the boss blame the person who hired them?
  4. Pride, wanting to look good — This person may choose based on which option will make him look best, whether that is being with-it, in the vanguard, …
  5. Acceptance — This person may choose the most popular option hoping others will approve of her choice.

Key Points to Remember

Given that, here are key points to remember in regard to B-to-B marketing:

  1. You are still marketing to people, not companies. People make the buying decisions.
  2. People make buying decisions emotionally, not rationally. It’s just, in B2B, you have to appeal to different emotions.
  3. Find out what is important to those people about what you sell.
  4. Find out their pain points that what you sell helps relieve.
  5. Find out how to reach those people, including where they are active online.

Then concentrate your marketing in areas where your target buyers can most found, and target your marketing messages to the appropriate emotions.

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