I remember early in my career, when I became passionate about a point of contention (I don’t know at this point what it was) in a meeting that someone told me keep emotions out of it. And for many years in my ascent of the towers of commerce, I practiced that approach to decision making. Like Michael Corleone in the Godfather, “It’s not personal. It’s strictly business.”
For a marketer, that is the kiss of death I have come to believe. If you are not passionate about what you’re doing and who you’re doing it for, you’ve missed the boat of effective communication. Yes, even in B2B business. “In a recent study performed by the CEB, which examined the impact of personal emotions on B2B purchases, it was found that 71% of buyers who see a personal value in a B2B purchase will end up buying the product or service,” says Daniel Newman in Forbes.
So why then do we keep deferring to non-emotional metrics to “improve” our work? Sure, in a world where bots and algorithms are trading in commoditized categories, efficiency equals efficacy. Not so in categories where there is a human factor deciding between business or consumer purchases that will have career or social impact. Yet often with our b2b customers, the focus is on what it’s easiest for the business to push put: case studies, spec sheets, just-the-facts PR releases without much or any thought to understanding the customer’s emotional and behavioral triggers.
This is where effective interactive storytelling becomes critical: the brand tells the story while the potential customer provides the emotional reaction: call and response at its best and most subtle. With more than 70% (Forrester) of the buyer journey occurring before a customer reaches out to a brand/vendor the marketing that touches them had better understand the customer as a human before it pushes the customer as a bot-like buyer. And that requires some EQ before it requires a spec sheet.