The personal touch: emotional advertising and H2H marketing

Like the rest of the human race, I found myself staring listlessly at the TV set over Christmas, in what can only be described as a food-induced haze. Advert after advert flickered before my eyes, all sharing one common theme: a tendency to focus on anecdotes. These anecdotes exist solely to induce an emotional reaction, it doesn’t particularly matter how much they feature the product in mention.

For example, this year we’ve had two women become friends after being trapped in a lift, and then seem more excited to see a burger than the engineer who rescues them; an elderly Priest and Imam buying each-other matching knee pads, and a man who fakes his own death just to get his family over for Christmas.

Not only does this kind of anecdotal, emotion-based advertising work, it works faster and more effectively than any other kind of advertising – and the big brands know it. MRI neuro-imagery shows us that consumers use emotions rather than information when evaluating brands. Emotions provide long term ROI, because they are what motivates us to do everything we do. If we feel positively about something, we actively wish to invest in it.

Emotions process input in a fifth of the time it takes for our cognitive brain to assimilate. With staggering statistics like this, it’s no wonder almost every brand has jumped on the band wagon and taken this approach. However, this technique isn’t only prevalent in advertising campaigns, it’s also being adopted by B2B marketers worldwide in the form of H2H marketing, or Human to Human Marketing.

Emotions are essential for B2B marketing strategy, as they make a powerful connection between businesses, whether short or long term. It’s important to build personal relationships, not only because it creates advocates for your business, but because it creates trust- and people buy from those they like and trust.

Human to human marketing is pivotal for B2B marketers because humans buy from humans, so every business’s primary goal should be adapting their marketing strategies to connect at a personal level. This personal touch is the backbone behind H2H marketing, a term that aims to strip back the marketing jargon and help marketing humans relate to real humans. Bryan Kramer, CEO of PureMatter, lists five key reasons for the implementation of H2H marketing. I want to take these five reasons and add why I personally (as a human) feel that it’s such a successful approach:

1. Businesses do not have emotion. People do.

We are aware that automated, generic, unclear email campaigns do virtually nothing for businesses. That’s because people feel like they’re one of millions being spoken to, and that the voice speaking to them is a robotic one. If someone takes the time out to get to know you, to tailor a product to you, anything that will make you feel special, you’d be far more likely to interact with them.

2. People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

If you can relate a product to a group of people so well that they feel they have a tangible human connection to it, then you know you have succeeded. When someone is made to feel that way by a business, they’re likely to permanently praise and endorse it by using the same human, emotion-based tactics that worked for them originally (we all want to be referred, right?).

3. People want to feel something.

We watch comedies to laugh, they make us feel better. We book holidays because we remember we enjoy going on holiday. This nostalgic association can be combined with the notion of scarcity to create a formidable marketing technique. Some things can only really be felt when seeing or hearing about it from others.

4. People want to be included.

See, you probably didn’t care about watching ‘Game of Thrones’ until Barry from work, Sue from down the road, and your old university lecturer all told you how good it was. But the opinion of those you trust is far more important than what some guy told you in a blog, right?

5. People want to understand.

Wattage, broadband speed, horsepower… All things I hear all the time but don’t really understand. But if it was explained to me by a friendly face, in the simplest way possible, then not only would I understand it, I would tell others about it. As a byproduct, I would also be far more likely to return to this person if I struggled to understand something else. It’s a need to understand and to feel included. It’s simple really, or at least it should be.

The most important message here is that building personal relationships and using emotion can help achieve your goals better than anything else. Do you ever feel like you aren’t really connecting with the people you want to? Have you tried a H2H marketing strategy yourself?

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