More than anything, B2B marketers want to be taken seriously. They want to appear smart in front of their audiences – whether that’s clients or peers. That often leads to an overuse of jargon as we strive to prove our insiderness. Plus we assume B2B buying decisions are based upon logic rather than emotion (ahem, they’re not).
It tends to make B2B marketing really boring.
B2B Content Marketing should not be boring
But here’s some breaking news for you – B2B content doesn’t have to be boring. It doesn’t have to read like it was written by Mr. Spock. In fact, science tells us that emotion is better at spurring people to take action (oh, look – I just appealed to your logical side). Our brains are hardwired for stories; really – researchers tell us that stories have the power to fire neurons, get us excited, and get us to feel emotion. When our emotions are engaged, we’re far more likely to take action – and that’s marketing’s goal: driving action. This doesn’t mean you need to turn your marketing into a Lifetime movie, but it does mean you need to examine the dramatic aspects of the market in which you operate.
It starts with colorful, evocative language. In an Emory University study from that link above, people’s sensory cortexes fired when they read metaphors involving texture. In other words, brain activity jumped when they read a sentence such as “the singer had a velvet voice” but when they read “the singer had a pleasing voice” they were left unmoved.
But if we write in a way that evokes joy, or wonder, or anticipation, we can create a deeper connection with potential customers. Yes, even if we’re selling cloud-based HR software, or whatever.
You might even be daring enough to utilize anger to spur action. Sounds crazy, I know, but I once saw Doug Kessler, the really smart B2B marketer from UK-based Velocity Partners make a very compelling case for using anger to spur prospects to action. Not full of fury, hate-filled anger. But anger tinged with dismay that people won’t wake up and stop doing something in a smarter way. Here’s an example of what he’s talking about.
If you have a disruptive technology, anger is a perfectly logical approach. You are, after all, trying to the market. By building your solution, you’re claiming that people are doing something wrong. Why shouldn’t you chide them for not doing things a better (i.e. your) way?
So, don’t be afraid. Get emotional. Create content that examines the human aspects of your B2B space.
People want stories, and the best stories are filled with drama and emotion. It’s science.
And even though you think your B2B customers are businesses, they’re made up of people. Yes, it’s true – the decision makers are flesh and blood, and suckers for a good story.
They make decisions based on emotion.
So don’t make me angry – get emotional.