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The Biggest Mistake People Make About B2B Marketing

minute read

One of the biggest marketing mistakes I've seen in my career is the well-repeated saying:

"B2B and B2C marketing are basically the same. Business are just made up of people, after all."

It makes sense on the surface - in fact, I've been guilty of this one myself. 

But when you dig into the dynamics and psychology of group decision-making, you find there are huge differences between B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer) decision-making.

Here's the truth:
✅ Yes, people working in businesses rely on many of the same cognitive biases and mental rules of thumb as consumers.

❌ But the decision-making dynamics of a group are different than someone deciding which pair of sneakers to buy.

Studies show that groups tend to be both more optimistic and risk-averse than they might be in their personal lives.

Here are 3 more psychology and behavioral science principles that will change how you think about how organizations make decisions: 

1. Conformity Bias
2. False Consensus Effect
3. Group Polarization

1. Conformity Bias

Conformity Bias describes how our need to fit in with a group can change our behavior.

When our position within a group is affected by the decisions we make (and how closely they conform with the leaders within a group), we care much more about "fitting in."

2. False Consensus Effect

False Consensus Effect describes how we think our own behavior and beliefs as more common in the wider world than they actually are.

For example, people who read the New York Times might think 60% of America reads the New York Times, while non-readers might guess that only 10% of Americans are NYT readers.

This effect can be compounded in groups - they can be more optimistic that customers think the way they do because the group's beliefs seem to (falsely) support this.

3. Group Polarization

Group Polarization describes how group members tend to reinforce their opinions and behaviors, so they get more pronounced (and extreme) over time.

Is your team a little risk-averse? The longer you work with them, the more risk-averse you’ll become too.

Want to learn more about how to use psychology and behavioral science in marketing, business, and leadership? Check out my course about the psychology behind winning more B2B clients, check out my 5-star course How to Find (and Win) Clients with Science, learn more about 1-to-1 Executive Coaching, or apply to a Group Coaching cohort.

About the author

Jen Clinehens, MS/MBA

Hi 👋 I'm Jen Clinehens (MS, MBA) the founder and Managing Director of Choice Hacking.

I started Choice Hacking in 2021 to help marketers and entrepreneurs figure out what makes buyers tick, and elevate their work using behavioral science, marketing psychology, and AI.

If you want to learn more, check out links to my newsletter, podcast, YouTube channel and other free resources below 👇


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