Industrial Marketing: Let’s Get Emotional!

Posted on Jun 11, 2015 by Kerry O'Malley


With an abundance of analytical data available to marketers today, having data to guide marketing planning and strategy has become the norm; but there is far more to industrial marketing than knowing who is going where in search of what. Marketing leaders seem to be agreeing that even for B2B industrial companies, there is a shift occurring. Many smart companies are giving their individual brand and the overall feel of their marketing communications a more human element – and it’s paying off.

What the Experts Say

In a recent interview, CEO and chief creative officer at the Gyro Agency Christoph Becker said, “Data will continue to play an important role in decision-making. However, we have found through our research with Fortune Knowledge Group that decision-makers are increasingly looking to their gut instead of the data.” He went on to explain that in a data-heavy world, B2B’s that leverage emotion while still communicating the tangible benefits of their products and services are more likely to stand out from the competition.

3 Great Examples of Emotional B2B Ad Campaigns

1.  A good example is this video from SEEPEX, a manufacturer of industrial pumps used in a broad range of industries.  The video shows a blind comparison test between their pump and a competitor’s and was meant to demonstrate how much easier and faster their pump is to repair.

In all likelihood, they were probably going to do the demonstration regardless of whether or not it was being filmed. Because someone was thinking ahead and for the cost of hiring a film crew, the company was able to effectively capture the torment of those who worked on the competitor’s pump versus the joy of those working on the SEEPEX pump. The result is a humorous, yet amazingly effective promotion for their goods listed on the second most popular search engine in the world (YouTube).

2.  Another great idea came recently from Phillips, who encouraged its individual and business customers to participate in their 100 Days of Life-Changing Innovations campaign. Participants from across the globe told amazing stories of how technological breakthroughs and inventions from the company made a huge difference in their life. Stories included everything from how cancer patients used home monitoring services to maintain their health all the way to how smart energy meters help reduce electrical bills and environmental impact.

3.  An expert at GE admitted they were having a difficult time capturing the emotions of their customer base through typical means. They knew they wanted to tap into “wonder”, “imagination” and “creativity”. This is why they went out on a limb to create highly non-traditional videos highlighting GE’s capabilities. One such example is “Childlike Imagination” in which a little girl exudes pride and wonder over her mother’s work at GE, a risk that has turned out to be hugely successful. See for yourself here.

These examples illustrate how products or services that may seem commonplace or even boring to many can be promoted in a more creative way that stirs people’s emotions.

Tips for Getting Emotional

If you want to look for ways to tap into your prospects’ and customers’ “right brain” and be more memorable, here are some tips:

  • Brainstorm with your marketing firm and top management about the ultimate emotional response your products or services can (or could) elicit with the right marketing messaging and campaigns.
  • What does your company do that brings up feelings of wonder, contentment, security, humor, imagination, or any other emotion?
  • Once you’ve been able to explain at least one, find ways to transition that emotional element to your brand messaging, where appropriate.
  • Besides the written messaging, what visual elements can you use that also elicit the desired emotion? A great example is the previously mentioned GE campaign. What is a more fitting image of the power of imagination than that of a child?
  • The easiest place to start using your new “emotional pull” is in your advertising, particularly print. Switching from a straightforward, traditional ad format to something more conceptual opens up a world of possibilities for creating emotion. Social media pages and your website are also great platforms for more creative messaging.
  • If you DO have the budget for a video, there’s no better way to plug into emotion than through video – and here’s a bonus – a video link is 74% more likely to be clicked on than a text link.

Industrial Marketers Need to Study Society 

 At the end of the day, industrial companies are primarily speaking to engineers, technicians, and operations management in order to conduct sales. While they are by nature logical people driven by data, studies indicate that increasingly, even they will ultimately go with what FEELS RIGHT when they make a business purchase, just as in B2C sales. Industrial marketers that refuse to recognize this shift may find themselves losing more and more business over time to their competitors who understand how our society’s desensitization calls for marketing campaigns that tap into and momentarily satisfy basic human needs.

Author: Kerry O'Malley

Marketects was founded in 1999 by Kerry O’Malley, a proven marketing communications professional in international, manufacturing companies. Working on the “other side of the desk,” she hired ad agencies to manage her employers’ advertising and P/R programs. Frustrated over the lack of attention and level of enthusiasm she was looking for in the marketing agencies she worked with, Kerry realized that there was a definite need for a full-service marketing firm that specialized in working with industrial companies. She resolved that her clients would always receive the highest level of service possible and never feel like the last kid chosen for the team.

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