Logic + Emotion = Yes
Decisions are a combination of Logic + Emotion. Understanding how the mind uses both, and the inherent biases involved, can help you create better marketing content and sales presentations, drive better engagements and win more favorable decisions, faster.
The duality of decision making is revealed in books such as “How We Decide” by Lehrer, and a series of important books such as “Buyology” and “Brandwashed“ by neuromarketing expert Martin Lindstrom. Whether you know it or not, you are exposed to the results of this research every day, as neuromarketing techniques have been shaping the world of consumer products for at least the past 20 years, and refining them as new learnings emerge. Coke, Kellog’s, General Motors and others have been leveraging these techniques in incredibly clever ways to get you to make consumer purchase decisions that go their way.
Now, these same techniques are being leveraged by B2B firms to great effect, combining emotional and logical content to achieve more favorable decisions and accelerated decision cycles.
2) The emotional brain tends to embrace “do nothing” versus change – a condition called “status quo bias”. When making a decision, our mind naturally weighs the costs and risks of change significantly and often illogically more than perceived benefits. In order to break the bias, you need to show how the costs of change are decisively outweighed by 2 times greater potential gains.
3) The emotional brain is stimulated not by text, but by visuals (as well as the other senses – hearing, smell, touch, etc..). The more pictures, especially simple hand drawn imagery, the better.
4) The emotional brain is self centered, caring most about its own survival. Buyers don't care about what you have to sell, or what it might mean for others, they need to clearly know what’s in it for them . One-size-fits all content just doesn't work any more, and buyers need more relevant, concise and personalized deliverables that speak directly to them - their industry, location, size, role in decision cycle, business objective and challenges.
5) The emotional brain is stimulated by contrast. This is best illustrated by a great story from the book Neuromarketing: If you drop a frog into a pot of boiling water it’s brain quickly recognizes the difference in temperatures and the frog quickly jumps to safety. However, if you put a frog into a room temperature pot of water, place the pot on the stove and bring it up slowly to a boil, you have frog soup. Our "old" brains are no different, and we too need to see contrast in order to “get it”. Clear pictures and quantification of “Before vs. After” , for example showing conceptually the costs and risks of business as usual versus the improvements and benefits of the proposed solution work well.
6) Finally, the human emotional brain relies on social relationships for survival. We are pre-wired to be attracted by similarity with other people who are "just like us", and to engage socially in groups (one of the reasons social networks are so popular). Leveraging pictures or testimonial videos of similar buyers, enabling social sharing of content, and promoting social interaction and groups, all help stimulate the "old" brain emotions to help drive purchase decisions.
The neuromarketing pundits reveal that emotional content and presentations will help you connect and engage buyers more effectively, and help make your messages and value proposition more memorable. Consumer products companies have been funding research and leveraging emotional decision making to great effect. It's time we in B2B embrace some of these techniques to create better sales and marketing engagement and effectiveness.
With today’s tough economic climate, however, emotion is not enough. Buyers are more overloaded, skeptical and frugal than ever before. Frugalnomics is in full effect, clearly making it harder to connect, engage and sell. However, leveraging logic in your marketing content and sales presentations, you can Fight Frugalnomics and drive success:
Best Practice: Logic + Emotion = Yes
For B2B decisions, you can’t get to “Yes” without a healthy combination of Emotion and Logic to help buyers make better, faster and more favorable decisions. You have to both stmulate the senses, so your messages get through and are remembered, while at the same time, making a logical case for your solution across all the stakeholders involved in the decision making process.
Our recommendation, and one we embody in our latest generation of customized value selling marketing tools, is to combine the best logical business case elements with the emotional attention-getters, leveraging a three step engagement process to: Personalize , Challenge and Engage.
Personalize - First, Alinean tools personalize the content, leveraging the customer’s profile to completely personalize and customize the analysis, research and messaging. Typical personalization tunes these elements for the buyer’s industry, location, size, role in decision process, stage in decision making, current solutions and assets, current practices and business objectives and challenges.
- “Why Change?” via quantifying the Cost of Doing Nothing,
- “Why Now?” via performance benchmarking, peer comparisons and the benefits and value in change
- “Why You?” via quantifying the differentiating value and competitive cost advantages of your solution versus competitive offerings.
- Leveraging more visuals and less text, especially including graphics to highlight the advantages of your solution, and embedding more links to videos and customer success stories
- Social stories are included, to highlight user success stories and promote social sharing of the document – proven ways to drive more credibility.
Sources (and recommended reading list):
Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy byMartin Lindstrom (Sep 20, 2011)