As both a B2B marketer and behavioral scientist, I am constantly examining individuals buying behavior to determine what motivates them to make purchasing decisions. Thus, while reviewing Social Cognitive Theory and what it can teach us about human behavior, I knew it was something I had to discuss. The tenets of SCT are vast, so I won’t attempt to explain the whole theory; instead, I’d like to talk about one of it’s concepts (and one I mentioned last week): self-efficacy.
Developing message content is a critical part of any B2B marketing campaign. It requires researching your target audience, using that research to construct your messaging, and testing that message before implementation. But during the research stage, you might discover negative perceptions or disadvantages among the target audience; then you must decide how to handle that in the message design. Scientific research can be helpful in guiding your decision in cases like these, so this week I’d like to discuss this through the concepts of one-sided and two-sided messaging.
One-sided messaging is when you choose to include only the positive aspects of your product/service; two-sided messaging is when you include both sides, whether positive or negative. When deciding on two-sided messaging, there are three techniques you might consider: Refutation, Diminution or Tactical Concession.
Social and behavioral research on the art of persuasion has taught us about how humans make decisions, and also shed light on how to persuade people to choose one option over another. These findings have led to the development of theories and approaches on behavioral persuasion, which can be useful in B2B marketing by showing us how to influence buying behavior. One such approach is the Elaboration Likelihood Model.
I was once at a meeting with a prospective client (who subsequently became one!) in which we discussed the importance of strategy in B2B marketing. Now, we all know strategy is the backbone of any successful B2B marketing campaign, but many of us still find ourselves justifying marketing as more than just a bunch of pretty pictures; and, during our meeting, I was doing just that.
During the holiday season, I noticed companies selling gift-worthy products increased their media placement with messages that invoked the giving time of year. This is smart, as it has the possibility to increase personal relevance, which can be an important motivator of buying behavior. But one company in particular, Wal-Mart, utilized another factor worth talking about. Its a B2C advertisement, of course, but the concept is just as relevant in B2B marketing.
The Elaboration Likelihood Model states that our success in persuading someone rests in their ability to elaborate on the issue at hand; so, to put this into B2B marketing terms, we will have a greater chance of motivating our customers to buy if we can encourage them to elaborate on our product or service. I’ve talked about personal relevance and prior knowledge as factors affecting ones motivation to elaborate on a given topic, but need for cognition is another that has relevance in B2B marketing, and is thus worthy of discussion.
I read a case study about social media on MarketingProfs that I simply had to comment on with this weeks blog. Though it’s a B2C case study, it clearly illustrates the importance of social media and, thus, is applicable to B2B marketing as well. It’s about how the American Automobile Association (AAA) noticed its customers were migrating to social media, so it began monitoring and engaging with various social media sites. Now, this is nothing new, and something we are (hopefully) all doing in B2B marketing; however, it was what they found that is important and worthy of commentary.
As a B2B marketer, I understand the importance of investing marketing dollars to stay top-of-mind, but I have never looked at this idea through a scientific lens before. So with this week’s blog I’d like to do just that, because the psychology behind our decision-making processes not only shows the necessity marketing has in today’s world, but can also give us information to incorporate into our actual marketing strategies.
In media studies, social and behavioral researchers have looked at a concept known as cognitive accessibility, and their research is applicable to B2B marketing, as well. In simple terms, in order to influence your customers’ buying behavior, they must remember you when it comes time to buy. In scientific terms, you must be cognitively accessible so your customer can retrieve the information associated with your product and, thus, make the decision to buy it.
In B2B marketing, we all live two lives — online and offline. Yes, these two personas intertwine and overlap, and it is probably impossible to try and disentangle the two, but the truth is that, in today’s B2B world, we are all living in those two distinct environments. Thus, we have one “face” to those we know offline, and another to those we know online. And how should you choose that online face, otherwise known as an “avatar?” Well, we have all heard the adage “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” and it looks like this maxim holds true for the online world as well.
I ran across a great print advertisement for Kraft® Singles that I simply had to comment on with this week’s blog. The ad showed a child’s hand holding up a slice of Kraft Singles American Cheese with the following words written over the cheese slice: Other cheeses are Gouda. Ours is greata! It was so simple, but I was impressed by how quickly it set Kraft’s product apart from the competition. Plus, according to the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM), this advertisement has a greater ability to motivate its buyers to elaborate on the issue, and remember it when it’s time to buy. Though the ad was B2C, the science behind the messaging is very applicable to B2B marketing. So I’d like to expand on the Elaboration Likelihood Model I discussed last week by writing about another key factor in elaboration &mdash prior knowledge.