It used to be that a business would identify itself as either a Business-to-Business (B2B) or Business-to-Consumer (B2C) company. There is a new ideology gaining traction today that is already shifting the way businesses of all sizes position and market themselves. Welcome to the age of the H2H, or Human-to-Human marketing.
In a global marketplace being driven by technology, the concept of humanizing a brand and connecting with like-minded individuals is a key strategic opportunity for moving a business forward. It’s a simple concept but people are creatures of habit and it takes a pretty significant shift to give up our favorite business jargon. However, at the end of the day, companies exist because of human beings who are directly responsible for the way a company behaves.
While a corporation may be legally defined as a unique entity and may have a prescribed persona and brand identity, the legal entity is absolutely incapable of making a decision or connecting with others on a human level. Most critical decisions and interactions still require people. Customers, regardless of whether it is B2B or B2C, are human beings who function logically and emotionally and thrive on human connection and engagement.
Getting to know the influencers and decision makers on a personal level, while building successful relationships will yield positive bottom-line results for any company.
Think about the following two scenarios. Which would be more meaningful to you as a potential customer?
You are looking to buy new computers for your small business (4 employees) and you have been making calls to local dealers. The first sends you a generic brochure touting the benefits of working with their technical experts. They even point out a package that has worked well for other small businesses similar to yours. They follow up with an email asking if you had received the package and asking if they could set up a one-on-one meeting.
Same scenario as #1. However, in this case, the 2nd company immediately requests a meeting to talk about your technology needs before they offer any information about their own services or recommendations. They spend some time talking with you and your team to understand your unique business requirements and the pain points you are looking to address. They follow-up with a personalized proposal and offer to conduct personalized training for your team following the delivery and set up of your new system to ensure a smooth transition.
Which option would you prefer? I am completely confident that you would feel more valued and confident with a company that takes the time to understand your business and the issues you are looking to address. This is a partner who is connecting with you on a human level to deliver higher value. The first option is purely a commodity reseller who provides little value to you other than providing the logistics to get you what you “think” you need.
Why Now? What Benefits Are Realized by Taking a Human Approach?
These same principles of creating value through a human approach apply to B2C companies as well. Technology and social media have changed the way that businesses communicate with each other and their customers. There is a more personal and immediate feel to conversations. It is no longer acceptable to offer generic solutions. Where traditional forms of communication (letters, proposals, email, and voicemail) often keep the parties at a distance from each other, we are seeing the movement towards a much more personal and human approach to communication today.
This is an exciting shift, as it allows companies to build stronger relationships and loyalty, while leveraging collaborative opportunities. It requires people to make the effort and take the time to truly understand and know each other. And it results in customers who feel heard and understood, respected, and confident in their decisions. Plus, it allows businesses to respond quickly to shifting customer demands.
An H2H approach to business, quite simply, allows you to connect more intimately with others while conducting business based on a shared set of values and understanding. And it is this understanding that will enable you to continue to deliver the highest possible value to your customers, who are relying on you to deliver over the long term.