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Feelings Matter, Even in B2B

Marketing is constantly in a state of evolution. With each new social media platform, online tool, innovation, or cultural change our job gets both easier and harder. It’s easier than ever to reach huge numbers of consumers, but harder than ever to catch and hold their attention.

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Our audiences are forever changing and in the business to business market this is becoming more prevalent than ever.

The Unique Selling Point or Unique Selling Proposition has guided marketing theory for years both because it works and it’s simple: “buy this product for this reason”. But as Bob Dylan said, the times they are a’changin: a CEB study in 2015 states that only 14% of B2B buyers see valuable differences between brands’ business value. Modern consumers do not see a USP as a major selling point, especially if (and probably because) they can get the same value somewhere else. The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) no longer exists. We, as marketers, need to accept that and tailor our strategies accordingly.

It’s not as easy as it sounds. If unique selling propositions are no longer the most valuable ways to market a B2B business what do we do? How do we reach and convince people that we are the best partner for their business if they don’t see any difference between us and our competitors? The answer lies in the people.

When working in B2B marketing, we tend to forget that behind every business are the people who make it run – the decision makers. Every purchase decision, from real estate to paper clips, begins and ends with a human being. Years ago, the key to B2B marketing was getting your message in front of decisions makers and making sure your message effectively showed your value. Today, the problem isn’t finding the decision makers, (that’s what we have LinkedIn for) the problem is all your competitors can find the decision makers too.

In B2C we’ve known for years that an emotional connection with our consumer is key to sell our products. People buy WHAT we do, but they form a connection with WHY we do it. They buy the story, the narrative, the chance to be a rebel or a taste-maker. With today’s technology, the emotional connection strategy is working B2B marketers as well. We NEED to start making emotional connections with the people behind the business. Creating an emotional connection between your brand and your audience means that you are 60% more likely to close that purchase; proving personal value to the B2B buyer will delivers 2x the impact on a B2B purchase.  Forming an emotional connection with your audience can build and shape not only your client’s perception of your business, but the ways in which people interact and build relationships with your team.

Classic lead gen techniques are and will continue to be necessary and useful, but as all the world is becoming more connected, do you want to wait while your competitors make direct connections with your customers?

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HedgeBlog is the blog of Hedgehog, a full-service digital agency. It's our fresh take on what's new, what's now, what's next in technology, online media, and beyond. Drop by, chime in, and be inspired.

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