Propaganda has been a political tool since the dawn of time. So are its main goals of swaying public opinion and influence decisions. Some might look back at the period’s posters and laugh but that doesn’t change how propaganda shares some similar techniques used in today’s B2B marketing.
The only real difference between the two was that one was just a hundred times more political than the other. Ideally, marketing seeks to innovate and inspire ways to bring in customers but it’s not like companies have their own share of propaganda wars.
The popularity of the propaganda machines came at the heels of the Great Depression and several of the Allied nations had just about decided to unite against the Axis powers. The war gave a purpose that stirred a post-Depression. Aside from just the timing, what other factors were involved that could be applied by B2B marketers?
Tugs at the public heartstrings.
Just because you’re B2B doesn’t mean you should your concern for prospects and customers without the emotional element. The propaganda in the day worked because it was used to emotionally engage its audience. Even the anger from negative feedback and can be redirected to fuel more loyalty to a B2B brand. It’s all a matter of how you see the emotion in play and then guide your actions alongside how better or worse they feel about your solution.
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Share war stories.
Wars aren’t won over night. It’s the same with B2B marketing campaigns. Every work experience with customers can be different and can teach you all sorts of lessons. Those lessons in turn need to be shared and applied if you don’t want to lose those customers.
If you’ve watched Captain America: The First Avenger, try remembering the scene where Steve Rogers only wanted to enlist more after he keeps reading about what’s happening overseas. It’s kind of the same for customers when they keep hearing what others say about your business, products, and services.
Propaganda has a way of taking personal testimony about a single subject or idea and making it consistent across people’s varying experiences. And if it works for them, it can work for your B2B marketers.
No room for fear.
Hyperbole and exaggerated claims are all part of propaganda’s appeal. Then again, all’s fair in love and war right? Despite what their current descendants now think, plenty of wartime propagandists couldn’t afford to be afraid of speaking out.
Even today, taking risks is still a necessary part of business. If you’re too afraid to try out an idea, then you’ll never know if it’ll actually work. You might risk blogging a less popular opinion in the industry or turn off certain groups. That doesn’t mean it’s certain unless you actually put it out there.
Naturally, it’s no longer 1941 and people aren’t just as easily riled as before. That doesn’t mean you won’t find opportunities to be a little more bombastic like classic propaganda. Time your efforts to when emotions are more effectively in play, share your war stories, and don’t be afraid to fight the good fight!