In Part 1, I described the contrast between 2010 and Don Draper’s 1964 in B2B marketing. Today, marketing is largely a numbers game. But Don Draper understood the “delicate, yet potent” value of emotional engagement with the buyer. How can we marry emotional engagement with today’s analytical tools that help us manage our efforts?
That’s where great content comes in. We must use it to address our buyers as people, not hits, clicks, opens, or leads in a CRM. In parts 2 and 3 of this series, I’ll explain how.
Take a realistic view of our prospects. At the end of the day, we have to realize that the “leads” we are trying to reach are not cells in a spreadsheet or slices of a pie chart. They are real people. And these people look at us skeptically, because we demand a lot of them:
“You want me to take the time to do what?
You want me to laboriously type my name, contact information, and details about my job and company into a cumbersome form?
You want my email address so you can spam me?
You want my phone number so a sales rep can call me?
No thanks—I’ve got other things to do.”
Buying our product is low on their priority list, and they are more resistant to our campaigns than we want to acknowledge. They won’t do these things until they feel they have a relationship with you that they can trust. And a relationship is emotional engagement.
Honor the stages of the buying cycle. In our white paper, “How to Create a Content Strategy for B2B Nurturing Campaigns,” we outline four stages of the B2B buying cycle. Each of these stages is tied to an emotional approach:
- Unaware: Content should be interruptive.
- Tentative: Content should be educational.
- Engaged: Content should be validating.
- Invested: Content should be exclusive.
At the top of the funnel, the more emotional, engaging content works best. At the bottom, the more rational, logical content works best. I often see B2B content based on rational arguments used at all stages of the cycle, and I see few emotional arguments at any stage.
That’s why segmentation is worth the effort—so that the right content gets to the right buyers. This study from Marketing Sherpa shows that segmentation improves email open by almost 100% [source]. When we give the buyer the content that is appropriate to their stage of the buying cycle, they are much more likely to feel emotionally engaged.
In part 3, I’ll describe a few more methods to emotionally engage the B2B buyer: methods that yield content that’s simple and straightforward.