happy face with pharrel hat

What Can A 75 Year Study on Happiness Tell Us About B2B Marketing?

In the 2012 book Triumphs of Experience, George Vaillant reveals the findings of the longest running study on human development in history. It was a 75-year Harvard study on what it takes for a man to live a happy life. The findings don’t just offer butterflies to the stomach, but real life insight. Incidentally, the study also happens to reincorce why inbound marketing is so important in b2b marketing.

According to the study the answer to a happy life was…

Warm Relationships.

Yes. That’s it.

“The 58 men who scored highest on the measurements of ‘warm relationships’ (WR) earned an average of $141,000 a year more during their peak salaries (between ages 55-60) than the 31 men who scored the lowest in WR. The high WR scorers were also 3-times more likely to have professional success worthy of inclusion in Who’s Who.” (feelguide.com, April 29, 2013)

In an interview, Dr. George Vaillant (the man who published the findings oversaw the study for the past 30 years) told a reporter “The greatest human skill you can have is the ability to take love in and metabolize it.”

Aside from making you want to stop reading this blog, call up someone you love and spend some quality time with them, does this study have any significance for you? I think it has enourmous significance for us as b2b marketers.

This study wasn’t on b2b leads it was on people. One thing that is too often overlooked is that b2b marketing is about people. Yes it’s business, but that business is about helping people get what they need. And just like success in life comes through relationships, there is something to be said about the value of relationships in b2b marketing.

The whole system of inbound marketing is built on the idea of treating people like people and not like walking bank accounts. It’s about listening to what they want and helping them attain it. The more we can build relationships, and eventually trust, the more we can help them accomplish their goals. When we help people accomplish their goals, they are more likely to hire us again and recommend us to their friends.

Interestingly, the men who scored high on the “warm relationships” measurement also made more money than those that scored low. A LOT more money. When you make a person feel valued and don’t beg for their cash, they will appreciate you, and in the business world, that appreciation usually translates into cash. Even if that person doesn’t hand you cash you have won an advocate that will help your reputation and point people to your business.

A few other interesting facts that the study found:

There was no noticeable difference in the average income of men with IQ’s in the 110-115’s and men with IQ’s above 150.

Alcoholism was one of the strongest negative forces in the lives of the Grant Study men.

For more details check out feelguide’s article. Or check out the book that documents the study: Triumphs of Experience by George Vaillant.

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