The Deciding Power of Emotion in B2B Marketing

By Ida Cheinman posted 04-17-2019 08:22

The original article previously appeared on the Substance151 blog.

Emotional Connection Trumps Business Benefit in B2B 

If you keep up with marketing trends, you’ve likely seen terms “B2H” (Business-to-Human), “B2B consumer” and “B2Me” – all emphasizing the dramatic shift in the thinking and approaches to B2B marketing.

The fact is, whether your company sells to consumers or companies, you are still dealing with humans. And that means you’re dealing with emotions.

Yet many B2B companies still approach marketing as if all that matters is the business case – the bottom-line value delivered, whether it’s increased performance, productivity, sales or some other rational metric.

Some even argue that trying to form an emotional connection with customers can backfire and hurt your company in the long run. This way of thinking is outdated and will only result in your company losing to its competitors who understand – and capitalize on – the power of emotional connection.

How do you leverage human emotions to win B2B customers?

The Benefit of Humanizing B2B Marketing

In marketing, companies identify people they are seeking to engage as “audiences.”

But “audiences” are not a list of companies and job titles, or demographics and segments – an audience is made up of real people whose experiences drive purchasing decisions and brand loyalty.

humans, they are generally unpredictable. They have needs and desires. They have bad days and personal agendas, and sometimes they are just trying to make it through the week.

Get to know the people you want to do business with. Connect on a human level. Help them! Make them like you!

Assuming your company is as good as its competitors at what it does, it all comes down to what we often call the “right fit” – in other words, an emotional connection of likability and trust.

Evoking the Right Emotion

Often B2B brands use impersonal, jargon-filled corporate language out of fear of being perceived as not “professional.” However, being professional and acting professionally doesn’t have to be at the expense of winning customers by emotionally engaging them.

The key is to choose the right type of emotions.

Although sadness or laughter could be very effective in B2C, B2B companies need their customers to feel a sense of confidence and trust and be excited about the promise of success and recognition that comes as a direct result of making the “right” decision.

This doesn’t mean that there’s no place for joy, charm or compassion, but before you send out that cat video, pause to consider that it may not be the right choice.

So, what exactly are those emotions and what personal value are customers seeking?


Doing emotion right is essential, and it’s time B2Bs learn how to leverage an Emotional Connection to Win Customers.