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Pursuit or Deal-based Marketing? Why words can influence outcomes

Published September 15, 2022

In my previous post on High Stakes Marketing, I shone a light on the highest-octane Account-Based Marketing discipline: Pursuit Marketing. Most people refer to this as Deal-based marketing – but I whole-heartedly disagree with that terminology. In this article I want to explain why the words we use matter and how the language we choose can influence outcomes.

As marketers, we’re story tellers, and the goal of any good story is to take people with us on a journey. The language we use for this matters a great deal. Our emotions, and with that our behaviour, are influenced by words – for better or for worse. In fact, a whole field of research is now dedicated to neuroscience in marketing.

Most marketers recognise the power of language – usually in a copywriting context for customer-facing material. However, the language we use can also help support sales teams with pitches and proposals and can be applied to inspire and influence our colleagues as well as our customers.

Here’s how:

Create your ‘Pursuit Tribe’

One of the synonyms of ‘pursuit’ is ‘quest’! According to the Word Emotion Dictionary by Dr. Saif Mohammed of the National Research Council of Canada, the word ‘quest’ is associated with positive emotion and anticipation. That’s what you want and you can inspire and motivate your ‘Pursuit Tribe’ with positive emotion, anticipation and teamwork!

It is in our nature to want to be part of something bigger than ourselves and be part of a tribe with a common purpose. Having a willing, proactive tribe collaborating and contributing with and for you to help your company succeed can have a significant and positive impact on your business. It could make the difference between scrambling to get your deliverables completed and in front of your sales team and prospect on time, or not.

You’ll need to galvanise peer support

Pursuit marketers are unlikely to have control over the end-to-end marketing and communications function of their company. The chances are that any requests to support a pursuit marketing deal will come on top of already hefty workloads. The truth is that supporting your given pursuit is unlikely to be high up on your colleagues’ agenda.

So, you will need to get buy-in and create a ‘temporary tribe,’ galvanised with you and the sales team around winning that deal! Yes, I said deal, and meant it…

The difference between getting the support you need and not, can be as simple as choosing the right words. Terminology, i.e., using the word ‘Pursuit’ over the transactional ‘Deal’ can help you tap into the emotions of your peers and rally them to support.

This approach doesn’t just apply to pursuit marketing. It’s good practice, whenever you need to work across multiple departments or functions and with people who may be peers or even senior to you. In the end, everybody loves a good quest… a pursuit!

Of course, it’s not all about terminology! With my next post I’ll take a closer look at pursuit marketing in the context of systems versus goals.

Dorothea Gosling

Dorothea Gosling

Dorothea Gosling has held senior roles at DXC Technology, CSC and Micrografx as well as other, smaller businesses in the UK, Switzerland and Germany. She is a Senior Consultant with Inflexion Group and a regular speaker at industry events and conferences.

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