Human-to-Human Marketing: Does It Mean Anything?

We recently sat down with seven leading business-to-business (B2B) marketers to discuss the direction of the industry and whether the distinction between B2B and business-to-consumer (B2C) is collapsing. . While B2B and B2B are undoubtedly converging, some commentators are announcing a new synthesis: human-to-human marketing. We couldn’t resist taking the opportunity to do a little buzzword: do our experts see it as something new, or just a new buzzword?

Rawad Jammoul, PPC Manager, Adapt Worldwide: if it helps us create communities, so much the better

What I love about “human to human” is that it reminds marketers that it’s not a click. You are dealing with a real person. We need to approach the market with sympathy for the problems users are trying to solve, the tasks they are trying to accomplish.

Having this mindset of thinking about relationships between people clearly shows what a job you do as a marketer. It helps us think about the central question: how can we build a community around the services we provide and get immediate first-hand feedback on the products and services we provide? It helps us do the job better.

Eoin Rodgers, Managing Partner, TMW Enterprise: focus on understanding real people

Human-to-human as a phrase is perhaps more confusing than helpful. But what is more useful (and more universal) is the emphasis on human understanding. The leveler between B2B and B2C is that if we want to create campaigns, ideas, and ads that move people (change their behavior, or get them to do/buy/think something), then a good place to start is try to understand them.

We now live in a world where that understanding can go deeper than ever – I’m not talking about data and survey responses. We have to look at behavioral science and neuroscience. The way humans respond and react is much more textured and powerful and allows us to connect on an emotional level. This part of marketing is a leveler for B2B and B2C.

David Van Shaick, Marketing Director, The Marketing Practice: don’t forget the context

I have a little problem with the expression human to human. It doesn’t tell us anything that we don’t already know. And that’s only half true because most of the time the first part of the equation isn’t really a human, it’s a brand. Brands trying to personify themselves are risky and often painful. It misinterprets the relationship people want to have with a brand.

We are highly contextual creatures and marketing is a highly contextual discipline. Tactics and approaches are different in each context. Some basic marketing rules apply to both B2B and B2C – about reach, awareness, mental availability – but context is so important in defining the right strategy and tactics. Hallmark Cards-style philosophy statements like “human to human” don’t really help.

Jennifer Pyron, Director of Client Strategy, PMG: what about peer-to-peer?

Not so much human-to-human, maybe, but it’s about making sure you have the ability to be peer-to-peer. Behavior has increasingly focused on making sure they have a really good understanding of people’s experiences before they’re ready to buy.

Make sure there are opportunities early on to understand what your peers are doing and what works for them. Making sure it’s a coin is more critical than making sure you see brands as human beings.

Rafe Blandford, Product Manager, Digitas UK: what about the machine to the man?

The human-to-human will always be part of the narrative, because it’s an interesting shorthand. It’s about humans. We talk to people.

But soon, it will be machine to human. There’s going to be the rise of generative content, synthetic content – ​​and that’s particularly well suited to B2B, where you’re often producing content for individuals. You can imagine a white paper that uses a bit of machine learning (ML) to personalize and generate the paper for that person, by a machine, and send it out automatically without a human ever being involved. This offers a scale for B2B marketing that could be very attractive in the next five years.

Secil Fuller, Brand Strategist, AgencyUK: relationships are everything

I don’t use the term human-to-human myself, but it only refers to relationships. The relationship one can have with a brand or seller can be transactional or on a loyalty level, but it’s all about human psychology and how I want to interact with that brand. It’s up to the brand to decide which market I operate in and what relationship I will have with consumers.

Paul Godwin, Managing Director, 2Heads: create emotional bonds

It is no longer about having the best products. It’s about building the best connection. This is where it happened in the consumer market, and this is how B2B brands want to evolve as well. Previously, it amazed me how poorly planned some B2B events were; nowadays, it’s more about building an emotional connection from the first interaction. People don’t want to buy something because you think it’s the best; they have to think it’s the best and they have to respect you as the company selling it.

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