Social Forces in B2B: Would You Choose an iPod Over an Education?

I frequent a very interesting site called Which Test Won, which experiments with various ways to present messages in online marketing. The site’s test this week contained an interesting finding, and though it was a B2C scenario, it demonstrated an important B2B marketing lesson from which I think we can all benefit.

B2B Marketing Campaigns should always test the variables.This experiment targeted college students who were taking the LSAT; the objective was to motivate them to opt-in for emails from potential law schools. The testing agency created two layouts to see which would garner more response, and though they altered several variables between the two, the one that stuck out most to me was a pair of promotional offers: One was for a free iPod, and the other was for a scholarship. In other words, one offer was worth approximately $250, while the other was worth anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000.

Which Test Won? Ipod or Scholarship?

Amazingly, more students signed up for the iPod than the scholarship. The testing agency posited that it was because of the instant gratification to which the younger generation has become acclimated, and according to the social and behavioral studies I’’ve read, I must say I agree.

So when developing your own B2B marketing campaign, you may want to not only consider the demographic of your target audience and what they like, but also what other social forces are at play,– and thus, will influence – that demographic.

It is also interesting to note that the site tested which parts of the layout had the most influence on conversion, and found the following:

  • Subject line – 38%
  • Offer – 27%
  • Image – 24%
  • Template – 11%

As you can see, the subject lines had the greatest impact on conversion, so think thoroughly about what might appeal to your target audience and, if applicable, possibly include it in the subject line as well.

We all know to research who we plan to target before actually attempting to do so, but perhaps there are ways we can know our target audience even more. As this test showed, we can never ask too many questions, because even the temporal context within which your target audience was born may influence how they react to certain promotions over others. So keep asking questions and keep learning about your audience; by breaking down these characteristics as much as possible, you may further motivate them to act.

Do you have any examples where asking more questions of your audience uncovered unknown characteristics?  Please share your comments.