The Science of Sharing: what emotions drive successful campaigns?

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Successful campaigns often are driven by chance and luck rather than science. Most marketers and sales professionals prefer to work from the gut – and their ‘professional instinct – rather than the brain or thru facts. In a world that’s becoming more and more content-inundated, standing out from the clutter and making that right, emotional connection is more imperative than ever before. This applies in business-to-business marketing as well. How can we in B2B get our content best shared by striking the right emotional chord?

That first spark effectively touching the right prospect at the right moment – gently moving him forward in his buying cycle – all depends on reach. We have all learned that we can buy reach. And indeed, reaching the masses seems to a large extent still dependent on deep enough spending pockets. In most B2B markets however reaching the masses is not the key priority. Reaching the right niche and members of that DMU is. Here’s where social sharing comes into play.

This month, the Australia-based Ehrenberg-Bass Institute presented ‘Viral Marketing – The Science of Sharing’. This book was based on a 2-year survey undertaken by dr Karen Nelson-Field. In this study special attention was given to the social sharing factor of videos, an increasingly important element in the marketing mix. A number of insights from this study can serve as practical inspiration and guide in the design and execution of effective B2B content marketing:

  • Arousal has a significantly larger effect on forwarding behavior than other emotional triggers
  • The psysiological response to an advert or (social) video i.e. driving laughter, tears or the viewer’s breath being taken away has a much greater link with information sharing than emotions widely assumed to have a big impact such as surprise, happiness or amusement
  • Using celebrities does not necessarily contribute to a video being shared let alone going viral, as confirmed by an Unruly study
  • Reach still reigns; while there are succesful examples of incremental reach delivered by viral content, the bulk of the videos does not go viral
  • Positive emotion should be favoured over negative emotion: make ’em laugh rather than make ’em cry pays off

Watch the summary below in a brief interview with Karen Nelson-Field (and enjoy her great Aussie accent ;-)):


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Would you like to know more about what insights our recent EEG-based neuromarketing study produced regarding B2B online video? Read the summary of the dutchmarq / NeuroSpire survey below.


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