B2B customer decisions are not all that different from B2C customers – at the heart of any decision stands a person.
Any customer decision journey (CDJ), whether B2B or B2C can be broken down into two key components: emotional and rational. Contrary to popular debate, the difference between B2B and B2C customers is not emotional vs. rational. Many businesses market to their B2B target market with a completely functional and rational mindset, which results in them mis-spending and misdirecting their marketing efforts.
Chances are if you have researched this subject before you may have come across something like “When you are marketing to a B2B…there is little to no personal emotion involved in the purchasing decision.” To believe statements like that is to cut your business off at the knees. As we said earlier and we will continue to say a thousand times over – at the heart of any decision stands a person.
Despite what you may have read, marketing to B2B consumers is HARDER because you have to satisfy two layers of rational needs and two layers of emotional needs. With B2C marketing you are only trying to make the individual satisfied, whereas with B2B marketing you have to ‘wow’ both the individual and the company’s rational and emotional needs.
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One brand that proves that B2B customers make emotionally driven decisions is Caterpillar.
Caterpillar is “the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial turbines and diesel-electric locomotives.” The company targets construction businesses through appealing to your stereotypical hard working, blue collar blokey types. Not the kind you would generally associate with the words “emotionally driven” and yet their marketing campaign was an absolute success.
“Caterpillar tapped into the distant memories that children have of driving big heavy equipment by showing how giant machines play Jenga. Not everyone may drive heavy equipment but we have played games. This video extends the brand with fun, familiarity and the somehow elegant finesse that only heavy equipment can demonstrate – it makes everyone want to play with Caterpillar tractors.” – Jessica Sundstrom
If you target people’s emotions while also satisfying their rational needs you will win everytime, whether they are a B2B or B2C customer.