I came across a research study that was conducted in 2013 by CEB Marketing Leadership Council in partnership with Google. The study, called, “From Promotion to Emotion,” discusses the importance of an emotional connection with customers for B2B brands. We’ve been making the same point for years, but the study provides an interesting point of view and is well worth a read.
One of the things that stood out to me was the differentiation the study made between business value and personal value. Business value focuses on customers’ business outcomes and was a new way to speak to customers that was different than traditional quality messages. Unfortunately, it has now become a cost of entry. Customers will not consider a supplier unless business value is a part of the equation. However, only 14% of buyers perceive a real difference in supplier’s offerings and value the difference enough to be willing to pay for it*. What matters most, they argue, is personal value. The value the decision maker receives related to things like making my job easier, feelings of accomplishment, garnering respect from colleagues, increased confidence*. Understanding that these emotions are a part of a B2B sale challenges the notion that B2C purchases are more emotionally-driven than B2B purchases. In fact, they found that a greater proportion of B2B customers are emotionally attached to the brand they purchased than B2C consumers are*.
Makes sense, doesn’t it? After all, it’s a high risk purchase decision on both a personal and professional level.
*All references from: CEB Marketing Leadership Council, 2o13, From Promotion to Emotion: Connecting B2B Customers to Brands. Available here.