I’m not sure how many times I see these two words in my daily dose of marketing industry news, but it’s a lot. I’m almost on the verge of not wanting to use these words anymore, for fear I too am sounding like everyone else! These words, only a few years ago, sounded fresh when describing what creative work should be. Now they sound nonspecific. Marketers seem to be tiring of it, too. They know they need engaging and compelling creative, but how do you know when you’ve nailed it?

Maybe the best place to start is being able to identify when you don’t have engaging, compelling creative. Campaigns don’t drive qualified leads and convert new business. Messaging and design elements feel the same across competitors. It’s enough to frustrate the best marketers out there. Does this mean everyone is engaging and compelling if we all look the same and talk the same? No, it doesn’t. It means no one is.

Scroll through your marketing pubs some more, and you may start to hear talk of something that is inspiring! It’s a word that describes what’s in great creative. At least it inspires me enough to write this blog. The word is:


You may be thinking, sure, in B2C you can use emotions in your creative.  It’s different in B2B.

However, ignoring the importance of emotions in decision making is where B2B marketing gets it wrong. We are all emotional buyers driven by a personal need. Even at work. Even an engineer, for example.

Whether you are selling potato chips or transmission parts, you are selling it to a person. The big win – and the one that is more often than not missing in B2B creative – is linking an emotional connection between your target and your brand. If you want impactful creative, find the sweet spot where emotional and rational intersect. Then cultivate the ties that bind the two together. This is called using your target’s personal value to promote your brand’s differentiation.

For example, ask yourself this question: What is the emotion your product provides an engineer? Is it your product’s consistent reliability and performance? Don’t stop and communicate reliability and performance. Keep going. Proceed past rational and head into emotional. How does that make the engineer feel when your product is reliable when others aren’t? Is it confidence? Peer recognition? Pride? This is the personal value of your brand to the engineer. Connect with that personal value in your creative, and you will have that engineer at “hello.”

Some call this “P2P” or “person-to-person marketing,” if you are into the latest marketing buzzwords. I think I’ll stay away from buzzwords for a while, and just say that it’s what makes creative awesome.