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Global Business Influencers represent less than 1% of the population, but are an important target for B2B marketers, considering their spending power and control over company budgets. So says Ipsos in a recent report [pdf] on these senior business people in medium and large companies.

The study, based on a survey of 1,430 Global Business Influencers (GBIs) in the US, finds that GBIs are using a variety of platforms to keep current with the news, and haven’t abandoned traditional media in favor of digital platforms, either.

While more than 9 in 10 access content on PCs/laptops (96%) and smartphones (93%), the TV set (94%) and print (90%) are also high on the list in terms of past-30 day reach with this elusive crowd.

Tablets, are also popular, as three-quarters (76%) have accessed news content content on a tablet in the past 30 days.

The presentation points out that GBIs are also accessing multiple brands across platforms. They access on average 4.7 international print publications, 3.7 digital media brands, and 2.8 international TV media brands. And the analysts note that they’re “still influenced by media, communications, and content.”

Emotions and Intuition Matter

So how should marketers target these influencers with messaging? Marketers should touch on a mix of emotion (e.g. anxiety, excitement), intuition (e.g. assumptions, challenges) and cognition (e.g. rationale, logic), per the report, as GBIs use a mix of each to make their decisions.

Fully 61% agreed that they’re confident in cognition for their decision-making. Cognition was defined as “the act of acquiring knowledge and understanding through though, experience and the senses.”

But while these logical, often data-driven mindsets are important, so are gut feelings. A majority (58%) at least somewhat agreed that they often rely on gut feelings to make work decisions. And half at least somewhat agreed that they have confidence in intuition for their decision-making.

As for emotions, two-thirds at somewhat agreed or strongly agreed that they generally know if something is wrong at work by how they feel about it. And a similar proportion (62%) at least somewhat agreed that they are much more creative in a work problem when they are emotionally involved.

The interplay between data-driven decision-making and a reliance on gut instincts has been explored in several pieces of research in recent years. One such study recently found that senior decision-makers are still more reliant on intuition than data, while an older study discovered that if available data contradicted their gut feeling when making a decision, a majority (57%) of business leaders would re-analyze the data.

For marketers looking to sway GBIs, it appears that campaigns that tug at cognitive, intuitive and emotional strings would be the best bet.

The full Ipsos study can be accessed here [pdf].

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