|Source: The Marketing Practice and B2B DecisionLabs|
One of the most difficult challenges facing B2B marketers is creating demand generation messages that will persuade potential buyers to act. The challenge is particularly daunting when marketers are attempting to motivate action by a "new" prospect - one their company hasn't already done business with.
Business professionals are inundated by dozens of business-related marketing messages every day, and the reality is they ignore virtually all of those messages.
For example, some recent data indicates that the average open rate for B2B marketing emails is between 15% and 20%. But the average click-through rate is only about 3%, which means that about 85% of the emails that are opened aren't persuasive enough to motivate action.
Clearly, B2B marketers need to improve the effectiveness of their early-stage (a/k/a "top of funnel") demand generation messaging. This improvement is vital because consistently acquiring new customers is essential for revenue growth at most B2B companies.
Fortunately, recent research by The Marketing Practice, B2B DecisionLabs and Dr. Nick Lee, a behavioral scientist and professor of marketing at the Warwick Business School, has identified three concrete steps B2B marketers can take to increase the effectiveness of their early-stage demand generation messaging.
How the Study Worked
This research was in the form of an "experiment," which is a research method that is frequently used in the behavioral sciences. The study involved 500 B2B professionals who were involved in making purchase decisions for their company.
The objective of the study was to test what combination of three messaging variables was most effective for early-stage demand generation. The three messaging variables were:
- The use of emotional vs. rational language to describe the business challenge and solution benefits
- The use of unquantified vs. quantified statements of business impact
- The use of contrast. In this study, contrast means describing both the current implications of the business challenge and the future benefits of the solution.
- Email 1 - Emotional language-unquantified description of business impact-no contrast
- Email 2 - Emotional language-quantified description of business impact-no contrast
- Email 3 - Rational language-quantified description of business impact-no contrast
- Email 4 - Emotional language-quantified description of business impact-contrast included
- Email 5 - Rational language-quantified description of business impact-contrast included
- Made the business problem described in the email feel more impactful to the relevant study participants
- Caused the relevant study participants to feel a greater sense of urgency to address the business problem described in the email
- Made the relevant study participants more likely to say they are willing to investigate potential solutions for the business problem addressed in the email
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