How To Promote B2Bs Using Emotional Targeting

Call it emotional targeting, emotional marketing, or emotional branding – whatever it is, all of these three distinctive terms are linked together through their mutual usage of one particular word: emotional. A strategy that’s focused on an emotional approach prioritizes the wants and needs of the customer above a strategy that seeks out tactical spikes in sales.

In both cases, profit is going to make itself seen, albeit at different paces. Emotional targeting is the number one factor in establishing a loyal, returning customer base.

Because it’s in its very own name, B2C has always tended to be the one to build emotional bridges between the brand and customers. B2B, on the other hand, doesn’t have it that easy. By its nature, B2B has to deal with a different kind of customer, one performing in a similar area and, thus, basing their decision-making on cynicism and rational thinking.

Does that mean that you can’t tap into their emotional side? Of course you can.

At the end of the day, regardless of whether you’re dealing with a third-party intermediary for another company or an Average Jane browsing the grocery aisle, there is one major thing binding them together: they’re both people.

And even though people’s occupations and conscious ways of thinking change, their subconscious and basic psychology don’t. You can definitely get a general idea of what customers want from you by conducting customer surveys, especially if they’re competent and really know what they’re aiming for. But what do you do when there are some things customers want that they don’t even know they want?


In other words, B2Cs may be able to win customers over with emotive, eye-watering commercials playing out on soothing piano music and with some puppies thrown into the shot. But these things don’t really work with the kind of customers B2Bs are interested in. What you need to know, however, is how to get them to subconsciously flock towards your offer. And the good news is that you can do that, in more than one way.

The Law of Negativity Bias

Is there a difference between your dog picking up on some rad skills in exchange for treats and human behavior?

At first glance, it may seem like it’s obvious that we are both beings more likely to learn something as long as we have a reward to strive for. And that is only partly true, as reward systems are integrated into one of the major roots of human psychology: pleasure and pain.

No matter how you look at it, we don’t purposely try to worsen our lives or make it all more difficult on us. What we want is to seek out options that can bring us the most pleasure.

We want the perfect partner in a relationship, we want a pet that doesn’t cause a lot of trouble, we want the shampoo that makes our hair the shiniest, etc. It’s less of a desire to acquire the best of things and more of a desire to ensure that we can derive some pleasure from it.

For instance, choosing a lump of clay over an iPad seems completely bizarre and worthless. But what if I chose it because I can personally have more fun molding clay than tapping on an iPad? In this regard, it’s because the lump of clay brings me the most pleasure, subjectively speaking.

What of the Pain?

But what does pain have to do with any of this? It’s the one thing that can actually make you stand out. Businesses tend to rely too much on their ability to offer people the pleasure they seek, but many completely dismiss the human tendency to have a bias for negativity. We try to steer away from pain as far from possible, so much that we can even inevitably end up opting for something less pleasurable than desires simply to evade it.

But there’s another part pain can play: it’s also an excellent trigger for pleasure. It’s the equivalent of dieting and staying away from your favorite bagels for the sake of a slimmer figure. That time period is miserable, but the result makes it thoroughly worth it.

Considering these scenarios, there are two approaches through which they can be integrated into your emotional targeting campaign:

  • The Point A – Point X tactic.
  • The negativity comparison tactic.

Point A – Point X

I suddenly get the desire to learn the basics of Spanish. This is me currently standing on Point A. As I sit down in front of the laptop, Google up online courses, and stumble upon a website I find most suitable, I’m on my way to Point X. Depending on the tactic, I can either get all the way through or abandon the search midway through.

One of the most common examples are the ones where a sign-up is required to, say, enter the language course per se. This by itself isn’t that much of a hassle, but the moment I fill in the required fields and land on a page that asks for my credit card number, I immediately slam that little red X button.

What would turn your business away in Point Y?

Businesses are in a similar mindset. They have no way of knowing if your services are worth their time or not, so if you also throw into the mix a demand for them to trust you for no reason, that’s a definitive path to failure. A great marketing strategy is all for naught if you can’t get the customer from Point Y to Point X.

So, do what most people do: offer a FREE TRIAL.

Free trials are excellent ways of giving customers a sample of what they can have, to let them actually experience what you have to offer. If you’re organizing an event, for example, and a customer is unsure of your aptitudes, reach out an invitation and have them see the working process while organizing an event for someone else.

Offering a free trial isn’t a literal thing, unless you can afford it. The general idea is that you should find a way to get the customer to experience your offer and find solid proof of your aptitude.

Negativity Comparison

This is a very good way of establishing a fantastic first-time impression. Most of the marketing campaigns today consist of people laying out their assets. As a result, a lot of the offers sound the same.

We provide fast internet, stable connection, great customer service, and a resistant modem!

Sure, this sounds great and all, but how about trying to tap into this negativity bias we’ve been talking about?

There is a reason why customer surveys are a thing. As long as people continue to answer them, it means that they’re aware of the existence of some issues and they’re definitely more wary of them than of the positives.

Now, let’s try this again and replace it with:

We get rid of buffering videos, sudden connection failures, infinitely loading pages, and endless phone queues.

Going by the whole “pain and pleasure” analogy, the human mind is more inclined to flock towards the latter option in a desperate attempt to flee from the very problems listed above.

Appearance Impact

Appearances matter, especially in B2B and the general world of modern marketing and branding. And despite the appearances, B2Bs aren’t war machines that establish themselves in this world with a precise number of companies they’re willing to cooperate with.

In fact, it seems like an overwhelming number of people don’t know who they want to buy from and that even more people discover partners through the Internet.

What does this mean? It means that there are enormous chances that your best shot is online. How does emotional targeting play a role in such a seemingly disconnected environment? Through appearances. Because they matter, remember?

The Psychology of Colors

According to a study, color plays an incredibly important part in influencing the decision-making of customers. Over 93% of them have based their choices on the appearance of a product, where 80% of people mentioned color as being the primary factor.


Is color really that important?

Amazingly so, yes. Depending on your color scheme choice for your website, products, or even brand logo, you can subconsciously influence people’s reactions, as well as the type of customers that you wish to amass by your side.

In fact, if you look at the logos of certain brands operating in a field, you will find a pattern.

  • RED: is often seen used in clearance sales because of its call-to-action intensity. It draws in mostly impulse shoppers because of its ability to incite energy and increased heart rates in people.
  • BLUE: is associated with serenity and trust, which is why it’s often found in the logo of banks or businesses. It’s also incredibly versatile since different shades attract different people. Royal blue and teal, for example, tend to be great ways to grab the attention of budget buyers whereas pastel blue can reel in traditional shoppers.
  • YELLOW: is fantastic for window shoppers as it stirs the sentiment of optimism necessary to get the customer to pursue what they see.
  • GREEN: is one of the colors the easiest for eyes to process, which makes it great to add between the other colors as “relaxation breaks.”
  • OTHERS: black is indicative of luxury and classy products, orange instills aggression ideal for call-to-action segments, pink is the go-to for feminine products, and pastels are great for clothing, traditional websites.

Depending on which color you choose to include in your logo, website theme, and products, you can truly alter the experience of the user. If you’re also seeking for ways to improve face-to-face experiences, the good news is that color psychology applies anywhere. Simply decorating your office with colors that inspire your needed emotion can gear the flow of the conversation in the desired direction.

But because the online medium is what matters most for B2B right now, this should be the center of your attention. Design with color psychology in mind and know exactly what you need from the customer.

Sense and Rationality

Humans are rational beings, always trying to seek out answers to all questions and find a reasoning behind everything that is happening.

Not surprisingly, this means that, especially in this era that’s so open to information and research, people really won’t easily settle for doing something without getting an answer to one of their most pressuring questions: “WHY?”

  • “Why should I do that?”
  • “Why should I subscribe to your newsletter?”
  • “Why are you even offering me this service?”

Taking into account the possibility of people asking these questions and having all the answers available can make the difference between gaining trust and having the customer leave in reluctance.

A perfect example of this mindset was Ellen Langer’s Xerox experiment, which focused on the reaction of people waiting in line to make some copies when someone asked them whether they could cut the line or not. Incredibly so, 93% of the participants agreed to let the other person go first even when provided with a reason as baffling as “I need to make some copies.”

The moment we get reasons, our minds instantly become satisfied and cease seeking out answers.


Emotional targeting heavily relies on the subconscious and how responsive it is to certain subtle stimulants. To summarize what you should take out of this article:

  • People are more likely to consider your offer when provided specifically with the issues you’re promising to keep them away from.
  • Let people have a taste of what they’re about to get into.
  • Use color psychology to influence emotions and customer types.
  • Always have answers and reasons prepared so you can answer “why-type” questions.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.

Author: Mike Jones

Mike Jones graduated from Boston University and he is now a full-time writer focused on technology and business.

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