Can psychology help you with creative marketing?

Simon Lawrence continues his regular series of posts on b2b marketing, this week taking a look at new ways to get to grips with the psychological needs of your customers and prospects.

4th March 2009 at 2:18 pm

As a small business, chances are at some stage you’ll find yourself marketing services or products to other SMEs. It’s tempting to think you automatically know your prospects – how they behave and the factors that influence decision-makers.

However, in the B2B sector understanding your customers can be difficult. To start with it’s not always easy to get to know them in the same way you might a consumer. Businesses have often hidden behind descriptions that seriously lack value and clarity.

But understanding the culture of a business will bring you much closer to understanding the values and behaviors of those who make the crucial decisions within those organisations.

You may not think it, but these decisions, needs and attitudes have a significant impact within a small business where the ‘owner managers’ are active in the firm on a daily basis.

To secure these deals it’s vital you have as much information in your arsenal as possible. The SME sector is a proverbial battleground with hundreds of businesses competing for the attention of just a few influential people.

To help understand this issue we commissioned some research into SME leaders. It showed you could group business owners into three types, Experts, Passionates and Money Makers each with their own distinct attitudes and behaviours.

These groupings are relatively unaffected by industries and sector. The smallest group (20%) is the Money Makers who are happy to accept poor service in return for a low price. These individuals are more likely to have multiple businesses and are also more likely to fail.

The remaining 80% is equally split between the Passionates and the Experts.

The Passionates display more emotion in their business decisions than the other two groups. They love good service and are willing to pay for it, but will give a provider only one chance to get it right. Crucially the Passionates will also be convincing brand advocates, if they are happy with their service.

The final group is the Experts, who will take an analytical view of the service and ensure that it continues to meet their own specific requirements. The Experts are unlikely to be swayed by sales patter or chutzpah alone. Both the Experts and Passionates tend to put the customer first, (rather than the money) knowing money will follow, if they do a good job.

These groupings allow us to bring psychology into the wider relationship marketing process. Psychology can be used as an extra tool to help businesses understand data and target their prospects in a more meaningful way.

Ultimately anything that contributes to us better understanding the people we’re dealing with can be used creatively to help convert more sales and keep customers happy for longer.  And let’s face it, long term business relationships have never been more important than they are now.

Simon Lawrence

Simon is the founder and CEO of Information Arts one of the UK's leading business-to-business marketing consultancies set up in 2000. Simon has over 17 years experience within the industry and is widely regarded as a leading expert in businesses marketing to other businesses.

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  1. Simon,
    Completely onboard with your view on this. I worked for GE until very recently and whilst it wasn’t the greatest experience of my life, they were very good at segmenting their customers.
    Understanding who your customer is and what drives them is key and customer segmentation will become the norm in the UK within 2/3 years.

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