B2B brands need to consider emotion as well as reason when marketing to buyers, according to [pdf] a new study by Google, the Conference Executive Board (CEB) and Motista. That’s because the research finds perceived personal value to have twice the impact of perceived business value for buyers across a range of business outcomes. The researchers point out that B2B buying is extremely personal because purchases involve a variety of perceived personal risks – such as losing credibility, time or even a job. These emotions translate into a higher purchase likelihood among those who recognize a brand’s personal value.
The study results show that among roughly 3,000 B2B buyers surveyed, those who see personal value are more than 3 times as likely to say they would make a purchase than those who do not recognize any personal value (71% vs. 22.6%), and about 8 times more likely to pay a premium for the product or service (68.8% vs. 8.5%).
B2B brands will need to create emotional messaging appropriate to non-customers, per the report, as few non-customers believe B2B brands will provide them with personal value. According to the study, 77% of B2B brand customers believe that their suppliers will provide them with personal value (referred to as “the combination of professional, social, emotional, and self-image benefits,” compared to just 23% of non-customers.
The importance of appealing to a buyer’s personal needs takes on added weight when considering separate results from the survey, which suggest that demonstrating business value is almost a pre-requisite for purchase consideration. In other words, few buyers will consider a brand if they don’t see the business value (one wonders why any would), making a successful emotional appeal to the buyer’s personal needs a worthy differentiator.