What should your marketing strategy be if want to sell your product to another company? For a number of years, the focus was on B2B marketing or business-to-business marketing. The goal was to appeal to the needs of the business.
According to marketing expert Bryan Kramer, this type of marketing has gone the way of the dark ages. The current trend in online marketing is called H2H marketing, or human-to-human marketing.
Kramer is a two-time bestselling author, TED Talk speaker, and renowned marketing strategist. He has his finger on the pulse of the latest marketing trends, and he has noticed a shift in the online landscape over the past few years.
This shift from B2B to H2H is proving to be exponentially more effective than traditional marketing for entrepreneurs and marketers who take advantage of it.
WHY A FOCUS ON B2B IS BACKWARDS
The problem with B2B marketing is that one fundamental truth is often left by the wayside – the fact that human beings are behind the companies they run.
Of course, deep down we all recognize this, but our marketing efforts don’t always align with that truth. The result is stale, almost robotic content that doesn’t appeal to anyone.
This can be so frustrating for people who recognize how important online marketing is to their business. They understand that they need to do it and why they need to do it (because most people make their purchasing decisions based on online research). But they haven’t quite mastered how to do it. They forget to humanize their content.
HOW TO START FOCUSING ON HUMAN-TO-HUMAN (H2H) MARKETING
Thankfully, humanized marketing isn’t difficult. It’s involved, to be sure, and will take time. But once you get the hang of it, you may start to enjoy the process. Why? Because you, too, are human, and we all crave human-to-human connection!
Here are a few steps that will get you on the path to successful H2H marketing practices:
1. STOP TRYING TO BE PERFECT AND TALK LIKE AN ACTUAL HUMAN
Bryan made an interesting point in our interview. He said that what we write is often more formal than how we actually speak. We try to be perfect and avoid mistakes and, in the process, we end up sounding more like a robot than a human.
Don’t worry about perfection. Write as if you are speaking to an actual person and your message will be well-received.
2. ADD IN SOME FUN AND HUMOR
Humor is nearly always welcome. You can add humor to your website, product descriptions, social media posts, or your blog.
Bryan mentioned a great example of humor – that of MailChimp. When they are processing a payment or some other information for a customer using their services, they don’t just have a “loading” or “processing” message. Those are way too boring!
Instead, they have a message that reads, “We’re crunching the numbers. We can only move so fast, but until then, check this out.” That simple yet fun message makes waiting for a file to load or payment to complete seem way less annoying.
3. ROLEPLAY WITH YOUR TEAM
When considering what type of marketing content to put out into the world, it’s important to consider the customer experience. The best way to do this is by putting yourself in the customer’s shoes. Try role playing with other people on your team, with at least one person pretending to be the customer.
Pay attention to details. Interact with the product. Ask questions and see what kind of response you get.
The better able you are to put yourself in your customer’s shoes, the more likely you will find ways to appeal to them.
4. FOCUS ON CONTEXT FIRST, THEN CONTENT
Getting to know your customer online is like peeling an onion – you have to do it in layers. According to Bryan, the best way to do this is to focus on context first. You can’t go from “Hi, I’m so-and-so” to “Are you ready to buy my product?” in one blog post. In the real world, that would be akin to going from “Hi, my name is so-and-so” to “Will you marry me?” in one evening.
The best course of action is to slowly reveal things about yourself – where you grew up, what got you into this line of work, your pet peeves. It’s important to get to know your customers, but it’s equally important for them to get to know you. Once they know who you are, then they’ll be inclined to listen to your message.
This idea of sharing is discussed in more detail in Bryan’s latest bestseller Shareology: How Sharing is Powering the Human Economy. You’ll learn the best ways to do that, and you’ll learn about what type of sharer you are. Learning this will help you share your story in a very personal way that will appeal to more people. Humans are smart – they can sense when you are being real or not. Sharing in this way will help them trust you even more.
A HUMAN-FOCUSED OUTREACH WILL TAKE YOUR BUSINESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL
Human-to-human interactions are what make the world go ‘round. It’s what creates relationships, partnerships, trust, and community. This is what you want to cultivate through your marketing efforts. And it’s not something that can be done if you are focusing on marketing to a business instead of the humans behind the business.
When you implement some of these changes and take your marketing from B2B to H2H, you will notice a shift. Your customers will be more engaged, new customers will be attracted to what you have to offer, and you will gain more repeat customers.
Changing your marketing habits will take a little bit of effort – mainly a mental adjustment to wrap your mind around a new marketing strategy. But in the end, the time and effort you put into making this marketing transition will be totally worth it.
Do you know what kind of sharer you are? Take Bryan’s free assessment. Thirty seconds later, you’ll have more insight into what direction to take your H2H marketing campaigns.
ABOUT BRYAN KRAMER
Bryan Kramer is a renowned social business strategist, global keynote speaker, executive coach, and bestselling author. He’s one of the world’s foremost leaders in the art and science of sharing and has been credited with instigating the #H2H human business movement in marketing and social.
With more than 350,000 social fans and followers, and an intimate understanding of the intricacies and interworking of both social technologies and social behaviors, Bryan is both a practitioner and authority on the subject.