B2B marketing aimed at the energy and utilities sector might be less effective if it overlooks emotions and brand connections, new research suggests.
B2B International conducted a survey of 2,000 business decision-makers from organisations in Europe, the USA and China to get behind the theory that utilities and energy suppliers rely solely on analytical procurement policies to make purchasing decisions.
The research uncovered that while having the right product at the right price is vital for initial consideration, as much as 64% of the final decision making among buyers working in the utilities and energy sectors is based on emotional factors – way ahead of the 56% figure across the board for b2b businesses.
Furthermore, 9 out of ten of utilities and energy services buyers state that, even before contacting a supplier a sense of connection to their brand is as important as feeling confident about what they do. The supplier’s website and email communications are the top channels used when forming the consideration set, the research found.
Nick Hague, Director of B2B International, said: “B2B marketers that don’t acknowledge the need for emotional brand connections are missing a trick. Particularly in highly commoditised markets such as the utilities and energy sector, this is hugely important. To have the best chance of getting from silver medal contention to gold, not only do you need to nail brand building basics and omnichannel visibility – you need to develop an emotional connection with your target audience.”
Some effective strategies B2B International has identified to achieve this are:
● Creating positive word-of-mouth by delivering an excellent customer experience. Recommendations are important, so this can give potential buyers confidence from the outset in the suppliers they consider.
● Strengthening thought-leadership positioning to connect with potential buyers. Business decision makers reported that a demonstration of expertise via content marketing was the third-most important factor in evaluating suppliers under consideration. For enterprise decision-makers, thought leadership was even more influential (ranking as the second-most important factor).
● Communicating your point of differentiation and selling on value because although B2B buyers are not driven by price alone, the value they perceive a supplier can add to their business is crucial.
● Building connections with relevant influencer networks because B2B decisions are rarely made unilaterally. In 80% of cases, more than one person is involved in the decision and for a third of purchase decisions, a team of four or more is required.
Click here for further information on B2B International’s Winning With Emotion report on the utilities and energy industry or visit the B2B International website.