Narrative and B2B Neuromarketing Techniques

Michael Wood, an accomplished, results-driven marketing executive with >25 years’ c-level experience shares his insights about why neuromarketing techniques (NMTs) should be used to better market B2B solutions. Read on to see what he has to say about how neuromarketing techniques improve the effectiveness of marketing.

Neuro marketing creative
Image by Charl Nigrini

Narrative and B2B Neuromarketing Techniques (NMTs)

Neuromarketing is the study of our brain’s reactions to targeted marketing and communication stimuli such as branding, content and advertising. Neuromarketing combines insights from neuroscience, behavioural economics, and social psychology. Types or modes of neuromarketing include visual, auditory, and kinetic. Neuromarketing techniques (NMTs) are used to influence, measure, and improve the effectiveness of marketing design, narrative, and tactics.

Until recently, NMTs were mostly associated with B2C marketing. Whilst there are many similarities between B2C and B2B marketing, there are some noteworthy distinctions. B2C marketing is typically characterised by quantitative data, decisions for the ‘self’, wide touchpoints, trend knowledge, distant relationships, and common impulsive buying. B2B marketing is typically characterised by qualitative data, decisions for groups, narrow touchpoints, one-on-one knowledge, close relationships, and uncommon impulsive buying.

Can NMTs be used to better market B2B solutions?

People remain people and it is evident that emotion and narrative do play an important role in B2B marketing. Numerous studies show that business value does not drive B2B decisions nearly as much as we think it does. I found this article useful. Studies further indicate that the decision-making flow is very similar in B2B and B2C, namely, emotion first, narrative second, and logic third.

How then can NMTs be used to better market B2B solutions?

People have limited attention memory, and in today’s ‘information overload’ environment we develop something called an organising principle to prioritise and make sense of this deluge of data. An organising principle is the framework we use to tell our stories. Neuropsychologists, like Bronwyn Wood, tell us that a useful organising principle is narrative and that we make sense of this ‘information overload’ through the stories we tell ourselves. (I had the pleasure of joining Bronwyn and co-hosting a B2B neuromarketing workshop at the Neuromarketing Conference earlier this month.) How does this help us with NMTs in B2B marketing, you may ask?

A ‘marketing flow’ – which I have found useful is – know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, and refer. Trust has never been more important (Marketo calls it the ‘new gold’), and trust plays a pivotal role in B2B marketing. If emotion facilitates narrative, and narrative fosters trust, and trust is the basis of the start of a personal relationship, then establishing the narrative determines whether you get to the point where you talk about technical matters and logic, and ultimately about purchases. Perhaps we should reframe the question.

Why should NMTs be used to better market B2B solutions?

NMTs are particularly valuable when used to ‘open up’ narratives, establish trust, and grow mindshare. This can be achieved through gaining insight into decision-making behaviour, persona profiling, user behaviour prediction, organising our narrative principles, driving customer narratives, and intentionally engaging.

Which NMTs can be used to better market B2B solutions?

There are numerous helpful NMTs and they can be grouped in various ways. I find the following grouping useful.

Neuro marketing image
Image by Charl Nigrini

It is beneficial to note that NMTs can be used for understanding and/or engagement purposes. Some techniques are more suited to specific aspects, and many can be used for both aspects.

How should NMTs be used to better market B2B solutions?

Given that customer engagement presupposes some level of understanding, NMTs are often used in some logical sequence. As understanding and engagement improve, this becomes more of an iterative process. Through using a mix of understanding and engagement NMTs and being mindful of useful NMT metrics including attention captured, emotion generated, and memory or mindshare gained:

  • Establish where the customer is ‘at’ by understanding their narrative, thereby gaining mindshare.
  • Be part of where the customer is ‘at’ by participating in their narrative, thereby establishing trust.
  • Be part of where the customer wants to ‘go’ through influencing their narrative, thereby driving logic, commercial and purchase conversations.

Are NMTs a quick fix?

Technology and techniques are not differentiators if we all have access to them. It is what we do with the technology and techniques that matters. Whilst it has always been important to know “where a customer is at” (for obvious reasons), given NMT, IoT[1], IoB[2] and the vast amount of available data, it is now essential that we know “where a customer is at”. The amount of data and sophisticated tools significantly increase the chances of saturating our customer engagements with irrelevant information, and of data misinterpretation.

If we don’t get the basics right, NMTs will not come to our rescue. In fact, they will cause damage.

Authored by Michael Wood (not a SAFREA member)

Michael is an accomplished, results-driven marketing executive with >25 years’ c-level experience including owning an agency for 15 years. Michael has deep B2B experience in communication, positioning, content, branding, and strategy across several verticals. This insight, and a balanced and foundational post-graduate education complement, allows Michael to add value through campaign design, and strong messaging across multiple mediums. Simply put, he tells the right stories, to the right people, using the appropriate channels, at the right time. Michael has a keen interest in the convergence of technology.

Keen to learn more about neuromarketing, click here.

Proofread and copyedited by Delilah Nosworthy (SAFREA member)

If you would like to read more of Delilah’s articles click here.


[1] Internet of things

[2] Internet of behaviours

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Safrea or its members.

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