What Matters Most to Decision Makers? Not What You Think.

“Business decisions are made emotionally and justified rationally.”

When marketing in the business-to-business (B2B) landscape, in-house marketers and advertising agencies often rely on numbers and facts to win over prospective clients. It makes sense. The business world is a place for numbers and bottom lines. If you don’t perform, you’re out of luck and a job. It’s natural to think that what matters most to people making business decisions are hard facts and data.

What we often forget is that people are making these decisions. People are human. Humans have emotions. Emotions can be used to sway people into making certain decisions. Even important business ones. I’m not saying facts and numbers don’t play a role. They do. And in that spirit, I’ll give you some.

  • 71% of executives say feelings (yes, feelings) motivate them to sacrifice bottom line gain
  • 70% of executives cite company reputation as the most influential factor when making decisions about who to work with
  • 65% of executives believe that subjective factors that can’t be quantified increasingly make a difference when evaluating proposals
  • 62% of executives say it is often necessary to rely on gut feelings and soft factors

And what about all the data you’re throwing at them?

65% of executives agree that the increasing complexity of their business environment has made it more difficult to base decisions purely on “functional factors” such as cost, quality or efficiency. Only 16% disagree. Marketing to and for B2B clients shouldn’t be where creativity goes to die. (Thank me later, creatives.) Yes, it is important to have the facts and data, but to get in the door, it’s just as important to have some personality, play on emotions and have some fun.

Business decisions are made emotionally and justified rationally. In other words, until robots take over the world, emotions will play a role.