Your Buyers Are Not Businesses, They Are People — The B2B Buyer is Now A Myth…


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b2b-businessesOn a recent trip to Italy, I was walking back to my hotel late one night. As I passed St. Peter’s Square, I stopped to take night time photos of the Basilica and the Egyptian Obelisk at the centre of the square. The only other people in sight were three nuns, so I got talking to them. Of course, as I expected, they were a bit reserved at first and I did most of the talking. I don’t know what Order they came from or what Mission they represented; I didn’t ask and I wasn’t curious either. Instead, I asked them about where they came from, why they were here, what they were doing at the Vatican, where their families were, and so on. Not only did we share some laughter, we even exchanged hugs and took photographs together before I returned to my hotel. And, best of all, I received an invitation to come listen and be blessed by the Pope the next morning!

I doubt I would have been so lucky if I had looked upon the nuns with the expected, normal ‘reverence’ of a lay person. Yes, I had the deepest regard and respect for them, but simply as other human beings like me in an interesting, unfamiliar place. My conversation with them was aimed at getting to know them as people, not as representatives of a religious Order. We became friends. They walked away happy and laughing. I walked away with an invitation to attend an event called ‘The Papal Audience’ that is forever etched in my memory. Isn’t it remarkable how life changes for the better when you see people as people?

Why can’t we do this in our professional lives as well? Why must we brand people as “employees”, “customers”, “vendors”, “partners”, etc. and then treat them like so? Even as B2B marketers, it’s time to humanize and personalize lead generation and customer experience management. The “B2B Buyer” is now a myth—there is no such thing anymore. It is no longer B2B or B2C, it is only B2P, i.e. Business-To-People.

Here’s a quick refresher on the Six Distinguishing Traits of the New Age Buyer that you need to recognize and cater for in order to win more business. Is your B2B lead generation sluggish? Do you want to accelerate your campaign and achieve the best outcome? Ask for a demo of the revolutionary, transformational MyLeads2Go solution.

6 Ways to Humanize Your Brand and Enhance Customer Experience  

B2B marketers need to rethink their audience and make an effort to understand who they really are as people.

1.  Make your audience look smart: What can you post or share that will make your prospects and customers look smart or “in the know”? You probably read my post on social media lingo. It was written up as an executive dictionary on social media terminology and the audience found it to be a great resource they wanted to share. It got shared a lot because people like to show that they have discovered something useful that can help others in their circle.

2.  Find out what drives their passion: I’d like to share an example of a company called Juniper Networks that specializes in data centre architecture. Most people would consider it a ‘boring’ subject but the brand needed to get their audience excited and engaged. They launched a social media campaign around a ‘Build the Best Lego Data Centre’ competition with the prize being a donation to a charity chosen by the winning organization / individual. With highly creative and imaginative entries using themes such as Star Wars, Back to the Future and even this very unique unicorn-powered data centre. As influential bloggers turned their attention to the campaign, the company started gaining access to the social connections of these influencers. What’s the takeaway for B2B lead generation? KNOW your audience – they are people too. Know not only how your audience interacts with your subject matter and the problems they need solved but also what is fun for them. Then incorporate all this into your B2B lead generation play.

3.  Know what keeps them up at night: Ask, listen, show that you care. Touting your products and services on every possible channel will only push your prospects further away. All they really care about is whether you can solve their problem or not. And if you can, at what cost and how soon? That is the positive outcome your lead generation needs to focus on.

4.  Bring some fun into your lead generation plays: Being an effective and profitable organization is serious business. Devising the perfect marketing strategy is serious work. Putting together and keeping in place a responsible team with the required resources and infrastructure takes serious effort. All this and more makes the world of business a far too serious place to be. But we are all human; we need relief from time to time. We crave some lighter moments that refresh and rejuvenate us in order to be more productive at work. When you bring fun, humour and light-heartedness to your lead generation activities, you have the opportunity to strike a chord with real people instead of merely the organizations they represent.

For instance, a company that sells storage virtualization solutions needed a strong campaign to counter the holiday season lull in business. They came up with a Boxing Day campaign inviting prospective customers to “load their boxes on Santa’s sleigh” and “send them into the Cloud”. The idea was to show how the traditional, cumbersome method of data storage has a new, far more effective and cost/time-efficient alternative in storage virtualization using the Cloud. The campaign included a  simple, interactive demo, a free trial, promotional discount offer and other enticing features to draw audience attention.        

5.  Incentivize and reward loyalty: Don’t take your customers for granted. It doesn’t matter how long they have given you their business; know that there is always someone else waiting to snatch it away from you. Bonus reward points, air miles, loyalty programs, club membership points, etc. are all ways to show your customers some love (and keep their love alive).

6.  Let employees promote your brand on social media: Your employees are your biggest pool of content creators. Use them well! Empowering staff to publish on your company’s social channels sends the message that your company respects its people and values their opinions. This strongly suggests that you also care for customers, vendors, associates and business partners. It helps to give your organization a human image and one that is endearing to its audience.

Does your brand communicate in a language your audience understands and can relate to? Have you made the personal connection with your customers? What measures is your organization taking to put the human element back front and center into your marketing and demand generation strategy? 

Leave me a comment. You can also email or call me, Louis Foong, at (905) 709-3827.   

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Louis Foong
Louis Foong is the founder and CEO of The ALEA Group Inc., one of North America's most innovative B2B demand generation specialists. With more than three decades of experience in the field, Louis is a thought leader on trends, best practices and issues concerning marketing and lead generation. Louis' astute sense of marketing and sales along with a clear vision of the evolving lead generation landscape has proved beneficial to numerous organizations, both small and large.


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