Leveraging Upper Funnel Tactics in B2B


B2H (Business to Human) Marketing and Tapping into Human Emotion

Why don’t more B2B marketers focus on mid to upper funnel marketing tactics like video, display, Programmatic or Advanced TV? With a plethora of business solutions in the marketplace, it would make sense to use short-form video to tell a story about reinventing a brand, explaining what problem the solutions or services solve, or tapping into human emotion. Data suggest that branding should be a cornerstone of B2B marketing as companies look to generate awareness, intent, leads, and eventually greater sales. To help make a case for levering upper funnel tactics, and considering B2H marketing, I have laid out a few trends that should stay top of mind.

Simplify the Offering

In Bill McDermott’s latest book, the Winners Dream, he talks about simplifying the SAP offering. He talks about his laser focus on serving the customer and making the experience the best that it can be. Rather than dive into the minutia describing CRM and cloud-based solutions for enterprise customers, he makes it as topline as possible. Offering succinct messaging to prospects that fit the customer profile is necessary to stay ahead of the rapidly changing B2B landscape.

Dealing with Amazon

With the rise, Amazon Business B2B marketers need to think about generating interest or intent around specific brands. Amazon Business has made signing up as easy as signing up for a Prime membership, highlighting the simplicity of purchasing from the online retail giant. Keeping a brand top of mind is essential in a world of voice-controlled devices or search controlled by Amazon, in an environment where the company pushes it’s preferred offering which might be white labeled products or sponsored product listings which help drive the company’s advertising revenue. Last year Amazon Business reported that they pulled in $1 billion in gross sales within the first year of launch.

The Rise of B2H (Business to Human) Marketing

In 2018, more businesses are tapping into B2H (Business to Human) marketing as markets become more competitive. Tapping into data and technology to personalize messaging is as important as ever to reach business decision makers. With 94% of B2B buyers researching online before making a purchase, personalized messaging that is not bland or highly technical is essential.

Tapping into human emotion has also become a very large part of B2B awareness campaigns. In June of 2018, I had the pleasure of attending the 2018 Masters of B2B Marketing. One of the biggest trends I noticed was an uptick in corporate responsibility as a leading topic across various B2B marketers across a diverse group of verticals. While there were many tremendous presentations, I found Mike Simpson’s, CMO at Stanly Black and Decker to be one of the most interesting presentations at the conference. Founded in 1843, the company employs over 55,000 people and provides tools and innovative solutions for builders, protectors, makers, and explorers. They describe their culture to be “Bold and Agile, yet Thoughtful and Determined”. As part of their mission statement, they describe a culture that makes positive changes in the world. Simpson shared a video about Nathalie McGloin who has cut through challenges in the face of adversity to achieve success in her motorsport career. STANLEY Black and Decker supports Nathalie and her charity Spinal Track. Nathalie became the world’s first, and only, female tetraplegic athlete to compete in car racing, regularly participating at the highest level against able-bodied racers. I found it interesting that a CMO chose to share this story as one of the main talking points of his presentation.

While some may wonder how this tie into the tool, storage and security offerings from such a large company, it is safe to say this kind of messaging is here to stay. In an article written in 2016, Harvard Business Review explains in an article titled “An Emotional Connection Matters More than Customer Satisfaction” that research across hundreds of brands in dozens of categories highlights that the most effective way to maximize customer value is to move beyond mere customer satisfaction and connect with customers at an emotional level. The article goes on to explain that offering a sense of belonging, enjoying a sense of wellbeing and standing out from the crowd among others can be high-impact motivators.

Keep it Simple, Personalize, and Tap into Human Emotion

With a plethora of branding opportunities including B2B data-driven programmatic display and video across TV, desktop, and mobile, there are measurable ways of marketing to people that are also decision makers. Tapping into emotion and keeping the value proposition clear and succinct are at the core of modern-day branding. With multiple decision makers in B2B, markers have an opportunity to get personal with targeted ads generating awareness, driving intent, while fulfilling a potential buyer’s emotional needs.