Three topics always dominate the B2B marketing discussion circles – data, technology, and content. And all three need a psychology touch for profit maximization.
The explosive proliferation of marketing technologies is usually well documented. “Data analytics” has become the hottest buzzword in marketing, and many organizations are investing heavily in marketing analytics capabilities.
Meanwhile, content marketing is everywhere! The 2018 content marketing survey by the MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute found that around 91% of B2B companies were relying on content marketing. The adoption of content marketing is now getting so widespread that it is no longer specifically tracked in the researches.
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Technology, content, and data are all critical components of successful B2B marketing today’s world of information abundance and empowered buyers. However, it’s critical to remember that B2B buying decisions are made by humans, and therefore it’s never been more vital for B2B marketers to correctly comprehend how people make economic decisions in order to infuse the psychological principles of human decision-making into the marketing strategy.
For decades, most economists have continued assuming that humans make economic decisions rationally. But, according to standard economic theory, humans weigh the economic benefits and costs of their decisions, having relatively stable preferences. People usually act to maximize their economic self-interest, and this is exactly what the B2B marketers need to smartly tap on.
The truth is, marketers have been leveraging principles of behavioral economics for years, albeit largely unwittingly. In fact, long before behavioral economics had a name, B2B marketers were using it. ‘Three for the price of two’ offers with extended-payment layaway plans became widespread because they historically worked – not because marketers had run detailed scientific studies behind these.
B2C marketers have long recognized the value of human psychology, but overall the topic has received comparatively less attention in the B2B marketing space. Experts strongly recommend that behavioral sciences should play a far more prominent role in the current B2B marketing landscape.
Marketing tends to be undervalued in B2B businesses because conventional wisdom says that B2B buying decisions are completely made on pure rational thinking. In reality, human biases are present in all B2B buying decisions, and collective bias may become far more significant than individual bias in this case.
Fear of blame remains a major driver of business decision making, especially in the case of B2B buying. The fear of regret, which drives individual decisions, always gives way to fear of blame: a decision easy to defend, or one which delivers minimum but quantifiable incremental improvements, will anyway be preferred to one which is better for the health of the organization on a larger scale.
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Marketing that focuses exclusively on rationality and logic is never as effective as marketing that leverages both logic backed up with the principles of behavioral science. Marketing is a mindset, imperative to understand and solve certain issues and problems in business that have their origins beyond engineering, logistics, or in the world of physics. The answers lie in the more complex realm of human cognition, perception, and in the fields of individual and social behavior. The problem with logic is that it boils down to the commonly shared pointers as other competitors.
So, to stand apart and draw up the differentiation, it is important to employ the principles of human psychology into B2B marketing strategies.