Human to Human Marketing – 5 Emotions Every Marketer Must Recognise

5 Emotions Every Human to Human Marketer Must Recognize

Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.” Seth Godin

Seth Godin is right, but, for companies who engage in human to human marketing as a strategy, the question still remains: How do you make sure the stories you tell are captivating to your customers?

Engage your audience on an emotional level.

This is as true for B2B audiences as it is for B2C. In fact, taken from the Google and CEB’s Marketing Leadership Council study, emotional connections are more significant to B2B customers than B2C. A rational, logical, and straight-to-the point consumer pitch to B2B customers with no emotional connection will no longer cut it.

So how do you go beyond ordinary salt and pepper emotional triggers like happiness and sadness? What other valuable spices can we use to get the dish going?

Let’s take a look:

5 ways to implement emotional triggers for your human to human marketing


The incomplete state where your imagination has been sparked and you are now drawn closer by unfulfilled expectations. You’ve got an itch that needs to be scratched.

George Loewenstein, a thought leader in behavioral economics, describes curiosity as the gap between what is known and what we want to know. It is held on a scale with knowledge and once you know too much, your curiosity weakens, but if you don’t know enough, you are not curious at all.

Creating that gap between the want-to-know and already-know can be a challenge, as information is readily at our fingertips.

A well-known way to manufacture curiosity is to provide the audience with teasers, especially when brands are about to launch. Something needs to be published to arouse the audience’s imagination.

Take a look at these two banner ads below – which instantly manages to spark your curiosity and which needs no double take?

Human to human marketing



The bedrock of all healthy relationships.  Formed when you go and deliver on what you say you’ll deliver.

In digital marketing, trust can be shown when your content is being shared, and there are actual leads and clicks generated from what you create online. It becomes a key product differentiator.

When dealing with online transactions, apps, and other software programs – trust has an added dimension. Your details are now provided online and the privacy and potential misuse of your information becomes an issue. Have you stumbled upon an ad thinking that is exactly what you have been looking for?

There are the obvious ways of building trust – instant replies, creating conversations and excellent customer care. Transparency is essential for customers to know exactly who they are dealing with. Trust takes time, it is an investment, but it’s the most important characteristic for a business to have. Who buys a product from a business they do not trust?


You may have heard the acronym ‘FUD’ being thrown around in the discussion room, which abbreviates fear, uncertainty, and doubt. All of which are negative feelings.

A perfect example of a company that successfully used this play on emotions is IBM.

They recognized that B2B customers look for ‘peace of mind’ when purchasing a product. They played on this insecurity with an advertisement that features their product name on a pillow with the words “What most people want from a computer company is a good night’s sleep”. As you can see this was not B2B or B2C, but rather human to human marketing.

This advert is a great example of how insecurity was used to connect with a target audience. It drove out the uncertainties that came along with buying a product, and provided consumers with assurance – the flip side of this emotion.

Advert of IBM pillow


Stimulated when the consumer envisions being in possession of the product and the benefits that come along with it. This is the forerunner emotion when it comes to B2B marketing.

The Google study proved that the feeling of excitement is an advantage when building emotional connections. When you generate excitement, hype is created around the product, making the consumers want to know more about it and thus lets it speak for itself.

From the study, the best and most effective way of creating excitement is an incentive of personal value. B2B customers are nearly 50% more likely to purchase a product or service if there are chances of personal value in their business buying decision, such as career advancement, confidence or popularity.


Everyone is, right?  One-of-a-kind, an original. When advertising your product, connecting to this feeling makes the consumer feel valued and, well, special…

Apple does this extremely well.

Though they are a global brand with millions of customers, when they talk to you, you feel as if they are having a personal conversation with (just) you. When companies understand how their users are using their products, they can preempt their next needs, making it seem as if the brand is reading your mind.

How you communicate with your audience is very important – are you having a conversation with your customer or at them?

Apple is good at speaking to its customers on a personal level. Even though you know they are speaking to their millions of users, somehow, you feel they are located in your world and responding to your problems.

Take a look at the difference between the copy of Apple and Samsung and how you’re made to feel when reading each.

Text full advert


One last thought

In a MediaBrix study, 88% of businesses would spend more money to improve their emotional targeting in their digital media as those connections strengthen their brand recognition and strategy success.

An emotional connection closes the deal. Start connecting to your emotional side, and those of your audience too. For more information on human to human marketing, just get in contact with us! We would love to get to know you.

Written by Kira Kumin

Content strategist at Reactful, a powerfully simple tool that produces meaningful business impact by helping you react to the digital body language of your users in real-time.

Other sources:

Lynch, Joanne, and Leslie De Chernatony. “The power of emotion: Brand communication in business-to-business markets.” The Journal of Brand Management 11.5 (2004): 403-419.

Hello, I’m author of this post. I help businesses like yours create memorable brands, get found online by “ready to purchase” web searchers. I also use nueromarketing techniques and coversion rate optimisation to influence web visitors to “buy now”.

I have worked with companies like IBM & BT Telecom and have started several small businesses so I understand how you feel.

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