When it comes to catching the attention of your customers, the cold hard truth is that as soon as you think you’ve got them hooked, they’re gone.
Whether they are browsing your competitors’ site or looking at funny memes. The fight for attention across the internet is not getting any easier.
In this journal, I am going to share how using behavioural patterns in your marketing strategy helps fixate your brand into the minds of your audience.
This article is not the first of its kind. There have been fantastic works that describe the power of psychology. Cole Schafer beautifully illustrates why buyers buy in his article, The Psychology of Selling. Books like Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B Cialdini go further to decrypt persuasion techniques that have helped people in all walks of life. This article will demonstrate how to use these tips in your B2B marketing to build trust and remain etched into the brain of your target audience.
Most studies have analysed behavioural science at an individual level. Focusing on the psychology of a consumer. Few have gone on to analyse the presence of bias at an institutional or corporate level. Arguably, cognitive bias by committee has a stronger more entrenched presence.
When making a decision at corporate level, most employees think and act with a defensive mentality. They are rational – for the fear of being judged by a decision bears more of a weight on the shoulders of most decision makers than the outcome of that decision.
Herein lies the linchpin that leads many B2B brands down an uninspiring path when creating advertisements. Decision makers are not death-eaters chasing any flicker of personality out of its suppliers.
They are human like the rest of us.
1. Even in B2B, people buy when something hurts or when they want to feel good.
In simple terms, you have to move buyers closer to pleasure, or further away from pain or in some cases, both.
When Marc Benioff decided to start Salesforce in the dot-com era. People were frustrated by enterprise software. Rigid and bulky systems that cost millions of dollars and took years to install.
Benioff recognised this pain and harnessed its power to wage war on software.
Now, this was a real shake up for Enterprises at this time. More and more start ups were bursting onto the scene, many did not last, so shifting from a software giant like Siebel was a huge risk.
Benioff perfectly architected a solution that addressed this pain and executed guerrilla tactics to land his message. Often staging protests and hijacking events. A true maverick that knows exactly how to trigger an emotional reaction.
Whatever your solution, whatever the price. Creating the perception that your product or service moves them closer to pleasure, or further away from pain, will trigger a welcoming emotion.
2. Even the most hard-headed businessmen buy with their emotions first, then turn to logic to defend their decision.
The power of selling to people’s emotions is unquestionable.
Hook people’s emotions and they’ll find any excuse to buy from you. You’ll also find after they’ve bought something, they’ll defend their decision until the cows come home.
Let me explain.
50 year old Mike, a successful business owner has recently broken up with his wife after 25 years of marriage. Emotionally charged, he decides to buy a new car.
He admires Tesla. Their cars are beautifully designed. Economical beyond belief. A car that drives itself in case you fall asleep at the wheel. 0-60 in 2.3s. Safe for when he picks up the kids on a weekend.
He decides to take the plunge and splashes out £90k on a brand new Model S.
His friends are impressed. The car is great. “Mike, what inspired this purchase?”
Mike jumps at the chance to reel off why he bought the new car.
“Well Dave, it’s the fastest electric car on the market. Faster than most supercars.
It’s as safe as a bunker. Auto-pilot will take you home if you fall asleep. It’s sensors detect when to break if you’re not looking. It’s going to save me a fortune on fuel.”
Are these the real reasons Mike wanted a Tesla? There are plenty of other safe, economical cars on the market. And besides, he hardly even commutes.
The fact is. This purchase is not unlike any other. It starts with an emotional trigger and is justified with logic. After breaking up with his wife, Mike needed bringing closer to pleasure and taking away from pain.
What better way to express yourself than buying a car as expensive as a small house.
Tesla is a status symbol for the well-to-doers.
Mike opted for a Tesla to feel good. To look good.
When asked about why he bought a Tesla. He turned to the car’s features. The logical reasons that helped he justify his decision.
So what can we learn from this?
Well to put it simply, hook people with emotion. Then immediately give them logical reasons that support their decision.
Most marketers fall into a trap of marketing features first. They create emotionless ads and end up lured into talking about how irresistible their product is.
These psychological principles have been around for some time. Technology has changed and will continue to change, humans will not.
Take the old Rolls Royce ads produced by David Ogilvy.
When taking the new Rolls-Royce to market in 1958, he wanted to show the public why Rolls-Royce was different.
Ogilvy beautifully reveals a headline stating, “At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock”
This benefit led headline plays perfectly on the emotional strings of its audience. At a time when cars were nothing but clunky heaps of metal, this headline immediately unravels a false belief about cars.
Whatsmore, the ad almost immediately goes on to list facts about the car.
The audience is hooked with emotion, then they receive fact after fact, helping them reinforce their decision with logic.
3. Businesses buy because other businesses buy.
Herd mentality is absolutely a thing, even in B2B.
How more likely are you to like a tweet that’s gone viral?
The power of virility is bigger than it’s ever been. You only have to look as far as Lil Nas X and his ‘old town road’. Harry Dry wrote a piece on his site, marketing examples that perfectly illustrates how Lil Nas X was a struggling college dropout, trying to get traction on his music by posting sound-cloud links on his twitter.
He didn’t find much success in doing this. In his words:
I’d post a funny meme and get 2,000 retweets. Then I’d post a song and get 10.
It’s at this point he realised he needed to switch things up. Instead of posting a sound-cloud link, he’d post a funny meme with the backing music of old town road.
He went viral, transforming Lil Nas X from a meme creator on twitter, to a global artist sensation – beating Mariah Carey’s record for the most consecutive weeks at number 1.
The more people that like, react or buy something – the greater the trust people have.
The same rules apply to marketing.
The power of word of mouth. Is there anything stronger?
Elevate the voice of your REAL customers. Let them do the marketing for you.
Show people that other people are buying. Then repeatedly show them again, and again, and again.
Yes, this may feel like you’re showing off. But remember. Every time your audience see’s a review, a testimonial or words from your customer’s mouths, another notch of trust is added inside their brain.
This is called “L.I.S.H.”
As shared by Eddie Shleyner, G2’s lead copywriter and founder of verygoodcopy.com, Length-Implies-Strength Heuristic suggests that more benefits, testimonials, customer stories and depth of content – earns more credibility, helping you persuade your audience more easily.
Social proof is a superpower. Collect customer feedback, videos, stories and quotes at EVERY opportunity. Then harness them in your marketing. There really is nothing more powerful than your customers persuading other potential customers on why they should buy from you.
Behavioural science will help you persuade. But it only goes so far in helping you differentiate. When it comes to being different, we can learn a thing or too from masters like Benioff.
Salesforce created a ‘new game’. One that showed the world a solution to a problem they never knew they had. To get this message across and make people care, Benioff knew that simply telling people about this amazing new approach to software wouldn’t wash.
Instead of telling people why Salesforce was better than Siebel, he showed his audience why Siebel wasn’t designed for winning at the new game. Instead of saying ‘why us’, he proved ‘the old tools weren’t built for this’.
Good advertising sells products. Great advertising adds value to a product by changing our perception, rather than the product itself.