Operation CV


How to Play to the Emotions of Your Target

Sophisticated players in the B2B and services marketing arena speak of drilling for the ‘Dominant Buying Motive (DBM)’ . . . a concept that could be valuably applied to process of understanding the specific motivations of the hiring party.

I very deliberately use the word “drilling”. A DBM is often not as clearly reflected in a client’s brief as might be expected. One of the most prevalent reasons for this, is that – whether a tender, a set of purchasing specifications, a recruitment or any other form of “procurement” brief – the requirements, in their truest sense, may not be as cut-and-dried as the written specs convey.


The written criteria are based on the best expression of logic, but the driving force behind them is far more emotive – and the client might not:

(a) be conscious of that underlying emotion / motivation,
(b) be able to articulate it, and/or
(c) not be willing to declare it openly.

However, none of these three factors erodes the strength of that unarticulated emotion that lies aback of the articulated logic and its influence in the decision.

Emotion-Driven Action, Logic-Based Justification

The other side of the exact same coin is that – as in marketing and sales psychology in general – a buyer may be primarily motivated by emotional factors but justify his or her buying decision (and his or her articulation of that justification) with logical factors.

How that plays out in the formulation of a recruitment brief, very specifically, is that the more tangible specifications are – whether consciously or subconconsciously – informed by emotive factors, but expressed and discussed in terms of quantitative, objective descriptors and measures. And as it is with the vendor in any high-stakes corporate sector procurement, so it is with the candidate investing the time and intellectual effort in drilling out the real underlying DBM in a talent hire. That is, those parties avail themselves of crystal-clear insight into the hot buttons and the key trigger points of the decisionmakers.


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