The Rationale Behind Emotional B2B Marketing

The world has changed drastically in recent years, leaving B2B marketing at a critical turning point. In the age of evolving customer expectation, achieving growth requires a renewed focus on the consumer, which is why Chief Marketing Officers are looking for new opportunities to dial up the emotion.

In a panel discussion led by Bill Burkhart, President of B2B at Wunderman Thompson, and Bas Korsten, Global Chief Creative Officer at Wunderman Thompson, Burkhart explored the idea that emotion, not rationale, is the key to inspiring B2B growth. In fact, creating an emotional connection is 7x more effective than selling rational benefits. Why? Because people simply aren’t rational.

Rather, they are subjective and learn from a breadth of experiences that span every aspect of their lives. For Chief Marketing Officers, it means approaching customers with “greater depth and nuance.” And so, Wunderman Thompson has identified the qualities a brand must embody, the stories it should tell, and the experiences it can design to assert itself as a brand that must exist in the world. ​

The three drivers of inspiration are:

  • Elevating: Helping people rethink their perspectives and connect with their ideals 
  • Motivating: Give consumers clear and compelling reasons to act
  • Magnetic: Drawing people towards them

By creating emotional B2B experiences for customers, brands can drive results and differentiate themselves by standing for something others can’t, showing up where others don’t, and saying what others won’t. As Burkhart puts it, “the more you inspire, the more you grow.”

From there, Korsten expanded on the concept of “taking technology, being at the forefront of it, and seeing how you can use it to tell an emotional story that inspires people,” by sharing a behind-the-scenes look at several client case studies. Each case study highlighted how a bit of creativity and empathy led to some incredible results.

To wrap up the panel, Burkhart unveiled Wunderman Thompson’s “Inspirational Index,” which provides a score for the top 100 inspiring B2B brands. And while this may be speculation, it’s safe to assume that the Chief Marketing Officers in attendance made it a personal goal to get their organization placed in next year’s index. To do so, they’ll need to turn their attention to the customer.