Patrice Laubignat Interview BtoB

I had a chance to meet Patrice Laubignat, CEO of and recognized influencer in the area of Emotive Marketing. He kindly accepted to answer my questions.

Patrice, could you please introduce yourself and explain us how you landed in the marketing world ?

PL: As I started my professional life teaching mathematics, I would answer that “strange encounters” led me to the marketing world! I have, probably for a long time now, two passions : one is sharing knowledge and inspiring others to express their talent (in marketing), and two, is learning from people who launch projects or manage marketing for companies on all kind of market. So I am a consultant and a teacher ! I also write to share on two blogs : one about partnerships (as I am founder of LePartenariat) and one about Emotional Marketing (mainly for my students).

You are putting the human at the very center of any marketing strategy. Is this a complete (at least good) definition of Emotive Marketing ?

I wanted to call it : « a romantic vision of marketing » rather than emotional, but yes it is a human to human approach. It is more a matter of “thinking backwards” as Seth Godin would say. Marketers need to understand that they cannot anymore make us do what they want, and even less, foul us with tricks and false promises. “If you don’t understand people, you don’t understand business”, said Simon Sinek, and I believe that the only way is to focus on customer’s attention, feelings and benefice. As long as your goal is to deserve his confidence and to be his best friend for a long term relationship, you must organize everything (product, communication and customer service) starting from his point of view.

I have recently read your book “Tout savoir sur le Marketing Emotionnel”, so I have got the historical details, but could you please explain to our readers where this Emotional Marketing concept came from?

Well, thanks for being a reader. I had the feeling that marketing was going wrong when hearing every one saying : “ok, but this is marketing no ? meaning, it can’t be true, or why should I trust brands ?” I have being a brand defender from the start. I love brands. And I know why. Brands are selling us what makes us wake up and go to work, come back home to share leisure, food and events with our kids or friends, travel or drive to see people we love or haven’t met yet : a true meaning in our every day life. We are defined by things we buy and use, by experiences and stories we share (as we have being sharing a coke since we once drunk one), and I wanted my readers to understand that marketing have to be thought this way because we are human. This is my why but reading American marketers (mostly) inspired me a lot. As I received kind of an English education, I may well be more emotional than rational at the end.

Is Digital Marketing an ally or an enemy of Emotional Marketing ? 

An ally for sure ! For at least two reasons : first, enable us to share anything we love (or like) with everybody all around the world has made each person a media and as the sudden an advocate of any product or brand, and second, mobile (and connected) devices are our closest friends and we simply cannot wait for more information, more videos and more comments to discover !

To balance this optimistic view, I must add that digital marketing can also lead to automation, and I think this is not what we need. We need serendipity, we need surprise, we need not to buy the same clothes, car or burger, we need differences and singularity. We don’t need a robot to propose us what to read next time ! As for technology in general, as always, digital can be used for our best or worse interest. As a customer why would I choose the dark side ?

 I make a big focus on BtoB marketing in this blog. Any specific comment about Emotional Marketing in the B2B area ? 

BtoB has always being a matter of confidence between people dealing with budgets and financial guide lines. As they know humans are emotional in their decisions, companies tried to rationalized every step in the buying process. So you may think that emotional marketing won’t apply for BtoB businesses. But what if you realize that offering the more you can, giving your best, is the only way to gain the confidence that will close the deal ? How do you explain, if not by our emotional need to share what we like, that all kind of businesses relate their growth with the quality of their Word of Mouth. As we enter an era of excellence in services, the way we choose from competitors is becoming even more based on the people (the team) we want to work with. Almost every company agrees to pay more for a better service and a better relationship with their suppliers. Working with suppliers you like is good for your business.

There is a trend defending the idea that “there is no B2B or B2C marketing, just humans”. I don’t agree with this. Do you? If so can you try to convince me?

I would ask you : what difference does it makes that your customer is a simple human or a company, if your goal is to give the best of yourself and to offer them a better life or a better solution ? Again, if you start thinking upside down, you would ask yourself why would a customer choose me, my product or my brand ? Why would they prefer me, why would they share that love with others ? And the reasons would probably just be the same no matter what kind of customer you would deal with ! So yes, I believe there is only human to human businesses. As long as computers or AI have no emotional memories, we, human beings, shall still be in command. And as we have a social brain, our ultimate goal is to help each other, so should be the goal of any kind of company.

Could you please tell us about your future projects ?

I am writing a second book to go further on the path to loyalty. Why and how does a customer become loyal to a brand ? Why his he moved by chaos or how does he join a comfort zone? Loyalty programs are one of the biggest challenge of marketing. Brands are facing failures and do not understand why. They are also in danger because of innovating start-ups that could change our world. I think customers are changing faster than brands. So improving loyalty is going to be even harder than it was, and this is challenging! I am also working on building a kind of think tank but this another adventure !…

Thank you Aurélien!

Written by Aurélien Gohier