Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

B2B Marketing Content Must Address "Soft" Factors

OnlyHuman

For some reason, in B2B content marketing, we seem to forget about the "whole" buyer. More and more marketers are embracing buyer personas and the idea of becoming customer centric, but we often only focus on the business side of the buyer, as if they walk into the office and leave the rest of themselves outside.

In the personas I help my clients create, a lot of research goes into what I call "orientation." Orientation is an attempt to identify commonalities across the personalities of people who tend to hold the roles that our marketing and sales programs pursue. These traits can tell us a lot about how to structure content to make it more appealing.

For example, an engineer who is detail oriented would likely prefer content that backs up a premise with research and fact, rather than relying on the company's credibility for it to be believable.

But a report released by Fortune Knowledge Group, in collaboration with Gyro, makes it very clear that there's much more to be taken into account. In Only Human: The Emotional Logic of Business Decisions, 720 business executives clearly reinforce the notion that "soft" factors, such as trust, relationships, and reputation still hold sway.

I have heard this first hand in customer interviews during persona projects where the response to why a vendor was selected was a version of "we just felt they 'got' us and what we're trying to do more than the others." Or "we felt more comfortable with them." And "they made us feel like a big fish in a small pond."

While it's undeniable that insights from data are being used in decision making, the final factor that cements the deal or decision could be intuition or based on a gut feeling. And, marketers may be part of the problem.

You see, the business executives strongly agreed that as information grows and decisions become more complex, they are relying more on those "soft" factors to decide the way forward, including the vendor's culture (53%) and reputation (70%).

Notable highlights from the study:

  • 71% say short-term financial sacrifices are worth more than long-term gains
  • 65% believe subjective factors that can't be quantified increasingly make a difference when evaluating competing proposals (only 16% disagreed)
  • 61% agree that when making decisions, human insights must precede hard analytics
  • 52% say ambition, admiration and potential rewards outweigh fear of failure

So how do we, as marketers, use these insights?

First - add a cultural assessment to your persona development. Review the cultures of your best customers and learn what they have in common. Then correlate those qualities to your company's culture. How can some of them be woven into your content and messaging wtihout skewing the content back to a company focus? Think of this as a style factor for the way your content is written or created. What words emulate the values that your company shares with your best customers?

Second - use more carrot than stick. Take a positive path with your content, rather than the fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) approach that content takes in an effort to build urgency to change. Help your prospective buyers see the success, rather than avoid the failure.

Third - become better storytellers. Stories engage intuition and help people think for themselves. A well done story invokes emotion in the reader/viewer and helps them to anticipate what their future will look like with the objective met or the problem solved. Stories are meant to engage humans - they've done so for thousands of years.

Finally - take a serious look at what it takes to build long-term relationships, not quick wins. The study finds that trust is a key soft factor for decision making. Earning and sustaining trust and credibility were proven to trump analytical intelligence. This means it's even more important to create consistent experiences across the entirety of the relationship, not just during part of it. And this goes for everyone involved - marketing, sales, customer service...

How is emotion manifesting during the buying process at your company? 

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee, CEO & B2B Marketing Strategist of her firm Marketing Interactions, helps companies with complex sales increase and quantify marketing effectiveness by developing and executing interactive eMarketing strategies driven by compelling content.

Her book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, was published by McGraw-Hill.

Her articles and blog posts have been used for university ezines, published in CRM Today, Selling Power, Rain Today and Enterprise CRM News. Marketing Profs has incorporated her blog posts into a number of their "Get to The Point" newsletters.

Latest Stories
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Sagi Brody, Chief Technology Officer at Webair Internet Development Inc., and Logan Best, Infrastructure & Network Engineer at Webair, focused on real world deployments of DDoS mitigation strategies in every layer of the network. He gave an overview of methods to prevent these attacks and best practices on how to provide protection in complex cloud platforms. He also outlined what we have found in our experience managing and running thousands of Linux and Unix ...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
We all know the latest numbers: Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from last year, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. We're rapidly approaching a data production of 40 zettabytes a day – more than we can every physically store, and exabytes and yottabytes are just around the corner. For many that’s a good sign, as data has been proven to equal money – IF it’s ingested, integrated, and analyzed fast enough. Without real-ti...
"We view the cloud not really as a specific technology but as a way of doing business and that way of doing business is transforming the way software, infrastructure and services are being delivered to business," explained Matthew Rosen, CEO and Director at Fusion, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"Software-defined storage is a big problem in this industry because so many people have different definitions as they see fit to use it," stated Peter McCallum, VP of Datacenter Solutions at FalconStor Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
With 15% of enterprises adopting a hybrid IT strategy, you need to set a plan to integrate hybrid cloud throughout your infrastructure. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steven Dreher, Director of Solutions Architecture at Green House Data, discussed how to plan for shifting resource requirements, overcome challenges, and implement hybrid IT alongside your existing data center assets. Highlights included anticipating workload, cost and resource calculations, integrating services on both sides...
In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Yoseph Reuveni, Director of Software Engineering at Jet.com, will discuss Jet.com's journey into containerizing Microsoft-based technologies like C# and F# into Docker. He will talk about lessons learned and challenges faced, the Mono framework tryout and how they deployed everything into Azure cloud. Yoseph Reuveni is a technology leader with unique experience developing and running high throughput (over 1M tps) distributed systems with extre...
"We are a well-established player in the application life cycle management market and we also have a very strong version control product," stated Flint Brenton, CEO of CollabNet,, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We provide DevOps solutions. We also partner with some key players in the DevOps space and we use the technology that we partner with to engineer custom solutions for different organizations," stated Himanshu Chhetri, CTO of Addteq, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.