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For a long time, B2B marketers assumed that business decisions were based primarily on rational motivations and that emotion was an exclusive territory for B2C marketers. However, it's becoming increasingly apparent that emotion plays an important role in B2B as well.

Emotion and reason are two human traits that together—sometimes in agreement, but sometimes in conflict—lead to decisions. It's not one or the other, black or white.

According to behavioral scientist and Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, people have two modes of thinking for making decisions:

  • System 1: fast, instinctive, emotion-driven
  • System 2: slow, contemplative, reason-driven

When we try to persuade people we're right and we use logical arguments and lists of facts, we're pitching to System 2. But System 1 is faster and more powerful, and, in most cases, it has already decided. All those persuasive arguments are likely to go ignored if System 1 isn't already on your side. So, always have System 1 in mind when you're trying to win business or build your brand.

You speak to System 1 by making yourself easy to choose.

When you need to speak to System 1, which emotions do you as a marketer want to focus on? There are many options, including belonging, happiness, joy, fear, pity, shame, envy, love, sadness, anger, surprise, disgust, pride, devotion, astonishment, irritation, contempt, guilt, trust, security, and acceptance, just to name a few!

Different emotions trigger different behavior. To influence buying decisions, you can consider the following 14 marketing tactics.

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image of Bob Oord

Bob Oord is a B2B marketing entrepreneur, consultant, and author. He is a co-founder of marketing technology startup Manceppo.

LinkedIn: Bob Oord

Twitter: @BobOord