Philosophy of B2B Marketing: Socrates, Aristotle, Plato and You


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Athens was the hub of Greek philosophy when philosophers Socrates, Aristotle and Plato were alive. Now the hub of all information is the Interne, and each B2B marketer is a philosopher in his or her own right, with the ability to share and evolve ideas in the work of a moment.

Whenever methodology moves forward, however, it’s a great idea to look back to the past and see how far you’ve come. Here are some tips to boost your B2B marketing mix, inspired by three of history’s greatest Greek philosophers.

1. Aristotle is best known for his ideas of Logos, Pathos and Ethos. These three concepts are Aristotle’s approach to persuasive writing, and can be very useful to any B2B marketer looking to change someone’s mind.

First there is Logos, the logical side of reasoning. B2B marketers can appeal to a prospect’s Logos by using news, statistics or facts in their copy that will appeal to a reader’s sense of rationality.

Next is Pathos, the emotional side of reasoning. To make an emotional connection with a prospect, a marketer can use stories and anecdotal evidence in their messaging – things that touch not only the mind, but the heart as well.

Finally there is Ethos, the ethical side of reasoning. Ethos is all about establishing the author’s credibility; marketers can achieve this by leveraging keywords, personal branding and a keen eye for analytics. A successful appeal to Ethos will make you instantly recognizable; when someone opens an email from you, they will sense your unique touch immediately.

Using all three of these appeals will help you to connect to, inform and be remembered by prospects, thus paving the way for you to drive your marketing message home.

2. Socrates is best known for his Socratic Method. This method is a form of debate that involves dynamically posing and responding to questions in order to stimulate intellectual growth and the foundation of new ideas. This method can be extremely useful to the modern B2B marketer, particularly when used via social networking. Socrates would sit with his students and engage in lengthy discourse about philosophies of life; marketers should likewise utilize the internet for discourse about their own philosophies of marketing.

Social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook provide the opportunity for rapid discourse between individuals in a field. You should always be willing to question and challenge others in your field in order to learn more and develop ideas together. Discourse is important for the advancement of any group, B2B marketers included.

3. Plato is best known for his Theory of Forms. This theory is based on the idea that we have preconceived notions of the way things are supposed to be. For instance, if you were asked to describe a cat, you would probably say it was furry and had four legs and so on. However, if you met a cat with only three legs and no fur, you would probably still know it was a cat. That first idea you had of what a cat “should” be like is called a Form.

This applies to B2B marketing in a big way, in that we have preconceived ideas of what certain marketing plans should be like. We know about keywords, social media, email, and many other facets of online marketing. What we should take from Plato’s theory is that we do not have to follow these preconceived notions of marketing. These forms are not strictly required; they are just tools you can use.

Remember that it is okay to go outside the box with your marketing plan. For example, you can try using lesser-known social networking websites that are relevant to your audience, writing blogs with a more creative spin, or developing personas for your posts and/or working with writers that will better connect with your prospects.

Philosophy is a very fluid field of thought – there are no right or wrong answers. As a B2B marketer, the most important thing you can learn from these Greek philosophy methods is that it is good to question, learn and try new things with your marketing mix.

Can you think of any other philosophical ideas that can help the modern B2B marketer? Share them in a comment below, and stay tuned for more thought-provoking posts!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Maria Pergolino
Maria specializes in Inbound Marketing for Marketo, leading efforts in adoption of social media channels for brand awareness and demand generation. She has worked in marketing for over ten years, and specifically in online marketing including social media, search marketing, and lead generation and nurturing for the past six.


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