Updated: Dec 23, 2020
Every successful marketing strategy is broken down into sections in order to understand the current situation, the route to markets, the personas and target audiences and markets the company is looking to sell to.
Then comes the communications plan, this explains how the strategy and tactics will be utilised communicated to each audience and persona.
However, with business to business (B2B) marketing, we’re not talking to companies… We are talking to humans, living and breathing – albiet it maybe in facemasks at the time of writing! And it’s time we remember that and inject life back into our strategies.
What is human to human (H2H) marketing?
Simply put, it is communicating directly with the human who will be making the purchasing decision. Creating a human voice for your brand could be your biggest differentiator for a business in a crowded online marketplace.
Taking this approach humanises your marketing, builds trust in your brand and taps into people’s emotions. In fact, did you know that studies have found that B2B buyers are more emotionally connected to the brands they purchase than consumers?
Here are some tips on how to apply H2H marketing
The beauty of H2H marketing is there is no rulebook, it is a blanket term that can be applied across various marketing tactics and communications, from; online to offline channels. Better yet, you’re probably utilising some in your marketing strategy already.
Talk like a human – everywhere… but without the ‘ums’ and ‘erms’
For many years we’ve been injecting jargon to sound informed and knowledgeable, forgetting that some users may not have the same level of experience or understanding. H2H marketing is about using easy to understand language, helping the user make informed decisions in a trusted environment.
A way to practice this technique is to explain what your company is to different people and see if they understand it.
Use social media and chat like a human!
Mix up the ordinary churn of the same messaging about what you’re selling or the blog of the week. Start chatting, interact and retweet with the industry. Break the mould. This tactic takes time and a little investment, but it’s worth it. Take a look at @CHS_Group for inspiration… I may be biased on this one, but the events and exhibitions industry have a fabulous discussion on social media channels, like nothing I’ve seen before working in other sectors!
Utilise user-generated content (UGC)
User-generated content is basically customers using your products or services! UGC is important as it creates trust. UGC could be in the form of text, videos, images, reviews etc – it’s created by people rather than brands and can be shared on social media, websites and other marketing channels. An example at work is Dove Real Beauty campaign that portrays real women, all shapes, sizes and ethnicities, undergoing real-life – no photoshop.
UGC can be easily implemented to B2B
Earlier, I mentioned the report on emotions being a dominator for the decision-making unit (DMU) when it comes to purchasing.
Well, there’s more – we humans love a good review. From my personal experience, I cannot explain how many times I’ve been requested for case studies and testimonials from sales teams to help close prospects. And rightly so! A report co-produced by G2 Crowd and Hienz Marketing found that 92.4% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase a product or service if they have been able to read a trusted review about it.
You can use testimonials in video formats, podcasts, blogs, social media jpegs or even infographics. Furthermore, you could do the same for case studies.
Do you work on mid to long-term projects? Great! Set up a time map and take your prospects on the journey, taking photos, video journals and blog posts about the progress, tell them the real-life situation. Even when COVID-19 hit. Remember, we are human, that’s what’s selling! Which leads me on to my next point…
Don’t be salesy! Be super transparent
When you’re nurturing leads through the sales funnel, put yourself in their shoes and you’ll quickly realise that the language used is all very much…
‘LOOK HOW WONDERFUL AND AMAZING WE ARE’
H2H marketing is about providing a level playing field when it comes to selling, give your prospects with the full facts and they will love you for it; open up the communications channel and start a two-way conversation. There is a time and place for the hard sell, tenders and award submissions for example!
H2H marketing is about honesty and integrity and providing the bigger picture. I’m not saying give them warts and all… we don’t need to know about the current affairs from the office and last year’s Christmas party. It’s about providing enough information to guide a prospect into trusting your brand to make an informed decision. As we mentioned at the start, H2H marketing is a competitive differentiator in the B2B sector – not enough companies are doing it, so why not start and make a difference to flourish your sales funnel.
Human 2 Human (H2H) is communicating directly with the human who will is making the purchasing decision
Utilising this marketing strategy in the B2B sector could be your biggest differentiator for a business in a crowded online marketplace.
We’ve been injecting jargon to sound informed and knowledgeable, forgetting that many do not have the same level of experience or understanding
H2H is about communicating in a simple, easy to understand format
We've literally just scratched the surface with this! So let me know if you've enjoyed it and I will happily create another writing more on useful tactics; my mind is exploding with useful tactics to exploit! Take care for now x