12 ways to achieve emotional marketing for your B2B company

emotonal marketing By Brooke Ballard, {grow} Contributing Columnist

Relationship marketing. Psychographics. Humanizing your brand.

We marketers supposedly fall all over ourselves trying to make an emotional connection with our potential consumers. Or do we?

Over the past several months, I’ve heard four issues come up in conversations centered around better marketing through an emotional connection with consumers. I’ll give an overview of each reoccurring complaint and give three possible solutions to change your frame of mind.

Issue #1: “But we’re B2B!”

Often times I hear how “different” emotional marketing is for B2B brands. Logic and function should trump emotion with B2B (or so I’m told). But a study from CEB and Google, From Promotion to Emotion: Connecting B2B Customers to Brands, found that B2B brands receive twice the impact when they connect with buyers through and emotional approach versus focusing on business value. The hiccup is that B2B brands still aren’t centralizing the emotional connection in their strategy.


  1. Focus on personal value instead of business value
  2. Create an environment for producing positive emotions (believe it or not, positive emotions have more influence on consumer loyalty than trust!)
  3. Use storytelling to demonstrate desire to the buyer rather than product positioning

Issue #2: “But we’re different!”

In Mark Schaefer’s book, Social Media Explained, he asks companies to ask a critical question:

What does our company do that NO ONE ELSE does?

Why is this question so important? Because every business thinks they’re better, faster, smarter, or more in tune with the consumer.

The rub here is that most consumers don’t care about your unique selling proposition (USP) — as the study mentioned above uncovers, only 14 percent of them see any sort of valuable difference between brands’ messaging. No brand is out there saying they’re not valuable, the marketplace is too competitive to solely rely on the values you’re offering. Solutions:

  1. Avoid jargon and fluff; use the language of your consumers to build an emotional connection
  2. Cut off the competition by targeting long-term relationships (not just a return); don’t show off, TEACH
  3. Ramp up your efforts for referrals and word-of-mouth or peer-to-peer recommendations

Issue #3: “We refuse to be overly emotional.”

Emotional marketing doesn’t mean every message you send out needs to be dripping with sweet nothings and chock full of hearts and smiley emoji.

Over-the-top marketing messages seem to be unloaded on us daily, and that makes more than a few marketers nervous about connecting with their audience through emotion. The easiest way to solve this problem is to take the two T’s to heart: Transparency and Trust.


  1. Know what builds trust? Honesty. I know, what a concept! And being transparent doesn’t even have to include the word love.
  2. Test your messaging with your alpha audience to ensure it aligns and resonates, but isn’t deemed as over-the-top or cheesy
  3. Highlight user-generated-content and testimonials to “show the love” from someone else’s perspective (and not look too narcissistic)

Issue #4: “Warm and fuzzy doesn’t put money in the bank.”

This one may be my favorite. Hardened CEOs and Sales VPs will tell you emphatically that an emotional connection won’t increase sales. The From Promotion to Emotion study found that buyers with a strong emotional tie to your brand are:

  • 5 times more likely to consider buying from you
  • 13 times more likely to purchase, and
  • 30 times more likely to pay a premium

I’d rely on those stats more than brand messaging repetition to pad my wallet, but hey, that’s just me.


  1. Utilize storytelling and open-ended questions to identify — and solve — pain points since it’s more cost effective to salvage a relationship than it is to acquire a new one
  2. Since emotions can’t be quantified, create key performance indicators around repeat business, peer-to-peer recommendations & testimonials, content & social media shares, your customer journey or lifecycle, and market share
  3. Work to align business goals with emotional marketing throughout your customer journey to maximize the emotional connection but still be sales minded

The Future Of Emotional Marketing

While businesses won’t change overnight to put more stock in the emotional connection, to truly stand out from their competitors they must start to understand the role feelings play in the buying decision. While there’s validity to each of the common complaints above, there are solutions to help ease companies into adding emotional marketing to the mix.

Do you think emotions have a place in marketing? Or are you sick of overly emotional messages from brands? Let me know in the comments section below!

Brooke Ballard for {grow}Brooke Ballard is an in-the-trenches digital marketer & owner at B Squared Media, blossoming blogger, and  a purveyor of psychographics. Her mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout on Twitter.

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