Don't Forget Your Personal Value Messaging

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Marketing Mistake: Forgetting to include your personal value messaging

It’s commonly assumed that, unlike consumer purchases, business purchases are based only on objective investigation, evaluation, analysis, competitive comparison, testing, or benchmarking, and calculation of ROI and TCO. We tend to think there’s little room for personal needs in the decision-making process. Decisions are made, for the most part, objectively, by professionals whose primary focus is what’s best for the company given its needs and budgets.

But it appears that many B2B marketers have been victims of the “curse of knowledge” in their assuming that personal value and emotion are not part of the sales play for their products and services.

The fact is: research is revealing that the personal value that buyers perceive in a B2B solution or service has far greater impact on the decision process than most B2B marketers had thought. A study by the CEB Marketing Leadership Council, in conjunction with Google, found that the personal value that buyers perceived in a product— which includes professional benefits, social benefits, emotional benefits, and self-image benefits—had twice as much impact on the purchase outcome as the perceived business value had (functional benefits and expected business outcomes).

It really does make sense when you think about it. Consumer purchases are typically low dollar. Other than one’s house, car, and perhaps some high-end appliances, most purchases are made with little investment in time or emotion. The downside of a wrong purchase decision is perhaps some frustration and annoyance, if that.

But business purchases—especially purchases of technology products and services—can have serious consequences if the wrong decision is made. People’s careers can be made or broken based on making that right decision. And decisions are made after months of time have been invested working closely with the chosen vendor. The stakes are high—and thus so are the potential emotions involved in the buying journey.

But B2B marketers most often completely overlook this emotional side of the purchase—and lose an incredible opportunity to strengthen customer appeal.


Steps To Avoid This Mistake

Fortunately, the solution is simple. It takes some effort and commitment to carry through—but it’s a straightforward process: define your personal value messaging and build it into your standard messaging strategies and tactics wherever reasonable.

When building out your sales messaging map, you need to integrate your personal value messaging—as shown in the typical messaging stack below.



To define your personal value messaging, focus on identifying the value that customers believe the purchase and use of your products or service will bring to their professional and/or personal lives. If you can, talk to customers to get input. Here are some questions that may help you define your personal value:


Professional/career benefits—How does our product or service ...

  • Accelerate career advancement/promotions and growth?

  • Help gain professional recognition and/or awards?

  • Strengthen your visibility and impact on the company’s success?

  • Boost your positive reputation as a leader and/or out-of-the-box thinker?

Personal benefits—How does our product or service ...

  • Help you to build personal confidence and pride?

  • Establish or strengthen positive relationships with staff, peers, or executives?

  • Help you spend more time on the work that matters most to you?

  • Improve your peace of mind and job stability/security?

Once you’ve defined the personal value your product or service provides, the next step is to infuse your messaging—value propositions, elevator pitches, sales stories, etc.—with personal value messages. This will serve to enhance your customer appeal and strengthen your overall sales messaging.