One of the biggest challenges facing companies today is standing out from the competition, and attracting more buyers. One of the many reasons this challenge exists is that a lot of marketing techniques are now outdated. Many were used to attract an audience that required more formal communication, in the spirit of “professionalism”.
Often, businesses forget they’re selling to actual humans when they look at marketing purely from a B2B lens. However, this mentality within business spheres is slowly changing. With an influx of millennial and gen Z employees joining more and more organizations, there has been a shift towards more personalized and approachable marketing techniques.
After all, these two generations are slowly becoming the majority within the adult population in North America. And being raised with social media platforms that have quite literally been designed to work for their specific needs, it’s becoming difficult to market towards them without catering to this need as well.
In this article, we’re going to discuss one of the latest marketing approaches to have taken the product marketing industry by storm: B2H, or business to human, marketing. We’ll specifically be taking a closer look at:
- What is B2H?
- Why is it important to follow a B2H approach?
- Challenges with this approach
- How to optimize your B2H approach
What is B2H?
B2H, or business to human, marketing is an approach specifically used to target the individual behind the screen, focusing on the individual’s needs rather than just those of a customer segment or business.
It’s typically used to build a deeper connection with the customer, and make them feel valued, seen, and heard regarding their individual needs and pain points.
However, this approach isn’t targeting just any human, you must still aim your marketing towards your target audience. This technique is used as a way of gaining a deeper understanding of your customers, while also reminding them that you’re also another human behind a screen.
Customer marketing is going to greatly impact how you approach this marketing technique, as you need to figure out who your customers are exactly, and how they like to be spoken to.
Why is it important to follow a B2H approach?
Using a B2H approach is going to have many advantages for your organization because of this broadening need to be seen as an individual.
Let’s take a deeper look at the benefits of using this approach that’ll surely sway you to consider implementing it into your own product marketing technique.
Builds a stronger relationship with your customers
This is one of the most important and easy-to-understand reasons for using the B2H approach. Personalizing your marketing is a surefire way of developing a deeper connection with your customers. This is because they’ll feel more valued, and heard regarding their needs and pain points.
You’ll also increase the likelihood that your existing customers will speak highly of your organization because of how positive you made their experience with you, and give them more of an incentive to stay a customer.
This is a good way of developing customer loyalty, increasing your customer retention rates, and improving your brand reputation.
It gives you the opportunity to have more fun with your brand
With B2B marketing, many brands focus on using their messaging to convey the features and benefits of their solution, without including any personality, or authenticity to their advantage.
Don’t forget that businesses are full of humans too. And humans crave connection, emotion, stories, and to feel appreciated.
Using a more human-driven approach with your marketing is going to allow you to experiment with all of this, allowing you to discover what works, and what doesn’t for both your brand and your audience.
This will give you the opportunity to develop a better brand identity, alongside gaining a better connection with your target audience.
Increases both customer and employee satisfaction
Bryan Kramer, author, interviewer, host, and all-round expert on what he calls “human to human” (H2H) marketing explained:
“Businesses do not have emotion. People do. People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. People want to feel something. People want to be included. People want to understand. But people are also humans, and with that comes mistakes. Missteps. Failures.
“As humans, it’s in our nature to say the wrong thing, get embarrassed, and not realize the consequences of our actions. The rise of social media has given a digital platform to the dark side of anonymity, both as individuals and as crowds. I say it’s time to lay down the virtual pitchforks and torches and bring this behavior back into balance.
“The delightful side of humanity holds with it empathy, understanding, and forgiveness, and when remembered in our communication, it ties us together as a common group. Communication shouldn’t be complicated. It should just be genuine and simple, with the humility and understanding that we’re all multi-dimensional humans, every one of which has spent time in both the dark and delightful parts of life. That’s human to human.”
So, B2H marketing doesn’t just benefit the customer, but the employee as well. After all, we’re all human, and driving connection is what’s important.
Challenges with this approach
Lining your marketing with your audience
One of the challenges that companies may face is not finding the line between what their audience likes and the type of marketing content they should create.
For instance, there may be a worry that they don’t sound professional enough when marketing a product for a big, corporate brand. But, you can still be professional whilst not sounding like a robot - you just have to know your audience and how they like to be spoken to.
And sometimes… “professionalism” isn’t what draws in the crowd. For example, Duolingo, the language learning app, has chosen to target more of a gen Z audience and has taken to TikTok, and other social platforms, to create funny content involving their brand mascot, the Duolingo Owl.
In these videos, they adopt current social trends and challenges that would be considered inappropriate in most crowds, particularly in the workplace. However, they’ve researched what engages their audience, and now create content that they’ll be interested in and interact with. Now, their brand content consistently goes viral.
And yet, they remain true to their brand in that one of their selling points for the app is that people “have fun with it”, and “effective learning doesn’t have to be boring”.
Targeting individuals is hard if you have a large customer base
Finding out exactly what your customers want can be hard if you’ve got a large customer base. The trick is to segment your customers so that you can understand and target them a bit better.
B2H is not going to be a one size fits all approach, but it is still going to have a greater positive impact on how your organization is perceived when your audience realizes you understand them and are actively directing their attention to how your solution can solve their problems.
How to optimize your B2H approach
So, we’ve done a lot of talking about the whats and the whys of B2H marketing… but what about the how?
We’ve put together some key tips to remember or implement within your B2H technique which will help you to truly streamline your approach.
Strengthen your customer marketing approach
As we previously mentioned, customer marketing is going to be absolutely essential in order to do this properly. Strengthening your customer marketing skills is going to help you to get to know your customers properly.
Rather than imagining who your customers are, customer marketing is going to give you insight into your actual customer segments, which is pivotal in increasing customer satisfaction, retention rates, and overall revenue.
Take a look at product-led growth opportunities
Product-led growth is the strategy through which your customer’s experience with your product is the main cause of growth for your company. So, using this strategy forces you to really dig deep into ensuring your solution and marketing are both entirely customer-centric and based on what your customers actually want and need, versus what your company thinks they want.
One of our sister communities, Product-Led Alliance, has been designed and built specifically around how to master your product-led growth strategy. Here, you’ll gain the absolute best knowledge surrounding this approach, which will help you to optimize your B2H marketing strategy.
Use personalization techniques
Using personalization within your product marketing strategy is going to help you streamline your B2H approach. This is because you’ll immediately hit that goal of making your audience feel appreciated, gaining a greater understanding of your customer base, and helping to build a connection with them.
Check out our article on how to use personalization tactics in your product marketing strategy, which takes a deep dive into this method, including a checklist that will help you to optimize your approach.
Part of the way you need to connect and build a relationship with your customers is by approaching them with empathy and showing that your business cares about creating a solution to their problems.
In order to develop this connection, you need to create an authentic, comfortable environment that builds trust and this desire for them to keep returning to your service.