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Guy Little

Written by:

Guy Little

Nov 21, 2018

Thomson Reuters’ head of content and campaign marketing on why emotional marketing is an unmined gem


“Customers will feel less likely to leave you if they are connected to you in a way that’s not transactional,” says Antonia Wade.

Traditionally seen as a trick deployed only in consumer marketing, savvy B2B marketers are learning how to track, measure and market to the customers’ emotions. Antonia Wade, head of content and campaign marketing at Thomson Reuters tells us how she rebuilt the marketing function, putting customer emotions at the center.

Emotional marketing was long thought to be the exclusive stomping ground of B2C marketers. Its premise is to entice, delight, and ultimately sell to customers by playing to their emotional drivers. It tugs on heartstrings and responds to the consumers’ primitive needs and desires.

Most thought that emotional marketing had no place in B2B’s rational, long, complicated buying cycles and committees.

But when Antonia Wade, head of content and campaign marketing at Thomson Reuters received some timely product offerings from her newly purchased Amazon Alexa, she realized — as have other insightful people — that all buying decisions are emotional as well as rational.

Antonia knew there was more her team could be doing to market to customers based on how they were feeling about the brand at key moments in the buying journey.

How Thomson Reuters shifted its focus from products to people

Antonia set out to reorganize the content marketing strategy, aligning it to personas and putting the customer at the heart of Thomson Reuters’ marketing function. She used the company’s website redesign this year as a catalyst for transforming its customer engagement.

The team started by researching pain points and classifying clients, then identifying which channels they engaged with and which messages worked. This led to detailed personas, including well-defined customer goals, motivations, and frustrations. The team used this to inform channel strategy, thought leadership topics, and campaign activation plans.

How far through the transformation are you?

If you imagine it’s a major race and you’ve got to climb the mountain first before you’re on the flat, we’re reaching the flat. We’ve done the hardest bit.

The highs and lows of the customer journey

Antonia’s team built customer experience maps that acted as a blueprint for the customer journey – from awareness and interest to purchase and advocacy. This allowed the team to create a feelings chart for each journey. Classifying each stage as high or low on the feeling chart allowed them to understand where there might be opportunities to enhance the brand experience — whether it was a moment of delight or an opportunity to overcome frustration.

The team created 27 user scenarios, detailing different journeys and trigger points across the website. Content was created for each step, from long-form whitepapers to snackable pieces.

While the website won’t launch until November, the nine-month overhaul has so far been a success. Marketing’s year-on-year performance has improved significantly under this new approach, as have customer interactions.

Why does emotional marketing matter?

When customers are making strategic decisions around vendor choice, you need to appeal to them as human beings. Customers will feel less likely to leave you if they are connected to you in a way that’s not transactional.

How to turn your marketing emotional

  • Customers come with questions, not requirements. Make these answers apparent at an early stage in the customer journey.
  • Think about when a customer might want communication from you outside of what you already do today. Use this as an opportunity to surprise and delight them.
  • If you ask for feedback, you will get it — be ready to be flexible with your approach.
  • Work with a team of people who can take feedback, understand what you want to achieve, and are committed to the end-goal. You aren’t always going to agree.

Want to find out what other marketing leaders think about the future of content? Read The Future of Content Marketing: 10 interviews with leading CMOs on the trends they’re using to disrupt in 2019.

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