Marketing Recovery Series: Humanize your B2B marketing

3 minute read

Communication doesn’t discriminate. So why do we continue to segregate B2B and B2C? As marketers, too often we default to a buttoned-up, formal approach to business buyers, while we appeal directly to consumer passions. The thing is, we’re all human. Emotion factors into all our decisions. Increasingly, marketing needs to balance the needs of the buyer and the benefits to their consumers – acknowledging the new reality of B2B2C. It’s a dynamic that’s pushing B2B responsiveness into a more human and engaged space.

Everything a company says or does tells us who they are and how much they value their customers. Instead of insisting on a two-tier approach, let’s acknowledge that people simply want to be engaged –no matter what the type of brand interaction. The pandemic has changed the way we judge value. On top of that, attention is scarce, people are more self-directed, and they have less time. Marketing for responsiveness, engagement, relevance and value works equally well for a commercial buyer as it does for the consumer.

B2B marketing needs a human touch

The global pandemic continues to affect our lives and businesses, disrupting the buying and selling process. Although technology plays a key role in the B2B ecosystem, it can’t replace the humanity that all buyers seek from both B2B and B2C brand interactions. A just-the-facts B2B approach isn’t effective anymore.

There is a message in everything a company does. In addition to the basics of product, service and value proposition, what matters to sales conversion is communicating humanity at every customer touchpoint.

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Weave humanity into your B2B marketing

Integrate marketing and sales to adapt to the new B2B journey. Use thought leadership and how-to content in direct channels – both digital and physical – to capture self-directed buyers and influence multiple stakeholders in the C-suite and beyond. Optimize contextual keyword search and organic ranking across content channels. Integrate sales activation and customer service into everything you do, to create demand and convert interest. Like B2C marketing, the more useful, engaging, relevant (and fun) you are to a buyer, the better. Be relevant to your customers and demonstrate your value to their customers.

Get inspired by these thoughtful B2B marketing campaigns

We love how these brands have successfully stepped out of the traditional B2B marketing box and proved it doesn’t have to be boring:

  • American Garden turned up the heat on restaurant buyers, increasing share of market by targeting influencers.
  • Carestream Ultra Sound created a simulation of their product to influence both the buyer and the user of the equipment.
  • Fuji Xerox collaborated with a fashion technology college, turning a demonstration of its printing capabilities into an event.

Use direct mail to enhance your B2B marketing

In a B2B ecosystem, content creates a shortcut to relevance and increases brand engagement. Although B2B has moved primarily online, a multi-channel, integrated approach is now proving necessary to manage customer expectations and self-directed learning. Direct mail is a customizable channel that can connect to online content as well as adapt it into an engaging physical format that can close customer service gaps. People want to try before they buy, and direct mail helps prospects experience product or service value propositions in an intimate and tangible way.

Engage clients with direct mail

When you can’t be physically present with clients, direct mail can also supplement video conferencing, emails and calls. Use physical materials to bring your brand to life, provide personalized content, solutions and reference guides, as well as exclusive or endorsed content. There are many ways to improve the recall and impact of your message. With audiences who continue to work from home, carefully and contextually sequence your content in digital and physical channels to enable better data capture, data updates and marketing reach.

Read more from our Marketing Recovery Series here.

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