B2B marketing needs to be more H2H

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Chief marketing officers and other executives in marketing leadership may be increasingly focused on how messages are being delivered to their B2B clients–via online and mobile. Content-delivery method aside, experts advise that the tone and feel of what is delivered on laptops and phones is growing more and more important, too. Yes, the B2B abbreviation for business-to-business could very well be replaced by “H2H,” as in “human-to-human,” when it comes to creating marketing content to engage business-to-business clients.

Keeping B2B real

When newly minted Millennial who advise on–or make–B2B purchases as part of their daily duties, they tend to respond to marketing that is similar to consumer marketing. They look for believable data points that prove a B2B product’s ease-of-use, as well as believable information that feels customized and even conversational. As Carolyn Baird, Global Research Leader at IBM’s Institute for Business Value shared on THINK Leaders’ recent “Future Proof: Your Boardroom” webinar, Millennials “Have high expectations for the workplace and B2B engagement based on their experience as consumers: convenient, data rich, relevant, personalized,
authentic, seamless.” These conclusions were drawn from the survey responses of more than 2,000 Millennial participants, 1/3 of whom influence purchasing decisions for their business.

A strong B2B brand strategy is a competitive advantage

CMOs and senior marketing executives can gain a competitive advantage if they reconsider the potential power of a brand that makes a strong impression in the B2B world. Charles Doyle, chief marketing and communications officer of Jones Lang LaSalle, makes the point that B2B purchasers often aren’t too aware of a vendor’s branding, as they are usually experiencing it in a very utilitarian situation. The competitive CMO working in the B2B space would be wise to re-think himself or herself as less of an “internal service provider, a cost center” and more of “a manager of an intangible asset that is one of the primary influencers of revenue generation. This is especially true in the B2B world where brands and reputation are very intangible and services are usually consumed at the point of delivery.”

A barrage of B2B messages

In a new research brief from the CMO Club and IBM, CMOs in the B2B space expressed how they can stand out by create engaging narratives along a customer’s journey by presenting appealing, human-to-human messages that stand out in a deluge of generic and formal-sounding vendor emails, newsletters, sites and other traditional B2B content experiences that might not seem tailored to different stages in a buyer’s relationship with a brand. “Good content is critical for the stages of the buyer journey,” as Yoni Ben-Yehuda, CMO of medical B2B software company medCPU, is quoted in the research brief. “The buying cycle is completely inundated with messages. It has become the sewer of marketing rather than a funnel.”

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