Is Emotion Relevant in Tech B2B Marketing?

February 18th, 2014 by Kerry

For those of us who spend our days trying to solve the riddle of successfully marketing to audiences who hate being marketed to, it can be easy to fall into the trap of “just the facts, ma’am” content and messaging.  But that approach is almost certainly not a winner.

Just because engineers and developers mistrust marketing doesn’t mean they are robots. It sounds corny to say “technologists are people too” but, well, they are. And all humans have a left brain and a right brain; most of us even use both sides.


This image appears in an ad we created for a client in the e-learning space. The target audience: chief learning officers. We were playing around with the idea of “knowledge” and how knowledge is attained; the notion of the tree of knowledge (think Eve, apples and serpents) was tossed into the creative mix. But our client is a very innovative company delivering e-learning in a fresh new way (they’ve been called the iTunes of e-learning, for good reason).

What’s fresher than a just-picked orange? And thus, the “orange of knowledge” was born. He’s friendly, eye catching and makes you want to know more. That emotional appeal breaks through the clutter and allows us to tell the serious story, backed with data, that our client needs to tell. Both sides of the brain are stimulated: the part that makes you smile back at the cute little orange guy, and the part that takes the facts and figures in, and makes an assessment.

The fact that the emotional tug is a little quirky helps. Even as tech B2B audiences resist being marketed to, they would resist overt manipulation of emotions even more. So yes, emotion is relevant in tech B2B marketing… as long as it is delivered with a dose of affection, respect and admiration for the audience.

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