B2B Lead Generation and the Theory of Reasoned Action

 

Here’s a little background in social psychology:

During the late 70’s, psychologists Martin Fishbein and Icek Ajzen developed a model in predicting people’s behavior, called the Theory of Reasoned Action, or simply, TRA. It follows the equation Behavioral Intention (BI) = Attitude (A) + Social Norms (SN).

In simple terms, they believe that a person’s voluntary behavior is a combination of his attitude towards that behavior and how he thinks other people would perceive that behavior if he actually performs it.

For example, you want to get a tattoo on your arm (behavioral intention). The decision to whether or not you will indeed get a tattoo will be affected by the fact that:

  1.  you like tattoos, and you think there’s nothing wrong with having one (personal attitude)
  2. people who have tattoos are generally associated with impurity and rebellious behavior, plus the fact that your friends and family are disgusted with it (social norm)

Whichever of the two has more weight will ultimately dictate your actual behavior. That’s TRA. Now imagine the use of this theory in B2B lead generation.

Now there’s no way marketers could influence a prospect’s personal attitude towards a brand, product or service. However, certain elements of social conformity can be integrated with your marketing message so that prospects can be directed to a desired action, thus making lead generation easier.

Let’s say, you’re a company that sells IT products and services, and you’re trying to come up with a particular content for your website. Now, you can never really control how prospects think about your brand, but if your marketing message includes something like “We use eco-friendly materials” or “Our operations are powered by sustainable energy”, then your business would appeal to prospects as “green” based on society’s views on praising companies that help “save the environment”. That way, you are able to somehow influence their decision to do business (behavioral intention) with a respectable, Earth-friendly company like yours.

Another example: you could design your business website based on a particular appeal, for instance, dressing your pages with Mad Men-ish images from the 60’s era when businessmen wore fedoras, fitted suits and vintage jackets. Now, for prospects at least 45 years old, this appeal is will serve as a throwback to the old days, which is generally associated with clever marketing, quality, teamwork, and a high regard for business relationships (social norm).

Knowing how to effectively strike a chord within a prospect’s perception of social attitudes can help you deliver your b2b marketing message more swiftly, bringing your prospects to the right direction.