Forget About B2B And B2C - Technology Enables B2P (Business To People) Marketing
As marketers, we have often thought of ourselves as either targeting businesses or consumers to buy our products and services. A whole range of books and an endless stream of blogs can tell us how to succeed using either of these schools of thought. We can look to some companies that are known for how well they seem to manage one or the other… but we’ll miss the opportunities technology is giving us today.
In my marketing career, I have helped sell everything from 99-cent impulse bags of potato chips in the grocery store to multimillion-dollar, multi-year market research programs to global Fortune 100 companies. Through all of that, I have never been more excited about the potential opportunities we have to connect with potential customers in new ways, all thanks to technology.
What is “B2P Marketing”?
- B2P Marketing is the recognition that businesses aren’t actually buying what you’re trying to sell. Individual decision makers—people—are making the decisions for their companies, not impersonal disengaged companies as a whole.
- B2C Marketing is more likely “traditional marketing” or “branding,” aimed at consumers who make purchase decisions, typically for simpler products.
- B2B Marketing can potentially be simplified to “getting leads for sales,” and there’s a whole lot of content being written about B2B content marketing to build qualified leads.
It’s not surprising that emotions and perceived relationships with brands ultimately influence brand recommendations and purchase decisions. The key here is to recognize that these decision makers and influencers can often be entrusted with major investment choices and may need to be champions within their organization when they recommend buying from you. If you build valuable relationships with each of them, they may one day be your most effective salespeople – telling their internal stakeholders and their peers how your solution can help.
Why does “B2P Marketing” matter more now?
With the rise of social media and engagement, it has become increasingly obvious that we are all targeting people – those people who make the decisions whether or not to purchase what you are trying to sell. These people we are targeting are consuming media like never before, across a range of social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so much more.
Individuals are looking to connect online with brands that matter to their personal choices (which is why I’m a fan of Dairy Queen on Facebook…) and also to inform their professional choices (which is probably why companies like Financial Times have over 500,000 Facebook fans and counting).
What are the keys to success for B2P Marketing?
While B2C marketers may have led many areas of the social media charge until now, if you sell to businesses, you will want these tips to earn your way into decision makers’ Twitter feeds, Facebook News Feeds, work email Inboxes, and conference packets. These keys to success can get you in touch with your decision makers across your entire social and marketing strategy:
- Continually offer content with value: New research, real-world case studies, and industry experts create blogs and Twitter handles that people gravitate towards – repeatedly! Sure, as marketers, we’re trying to sell, but decision makers and influencers will find value when we are first trying to educate and inform. We must do what we can to empower these individuals with information to help them do their jobs and look essential to their senior management.
- Have a clear brand persona and voice: The impersonal “one to many” communications on most corporate websites can often fall flat with individuals. Crafting blog posts and tweets as if you were writing to a professional colleague can help your messages sound more genuine.
- Engage in ongoing customer dialogue: Social media offers an amazing opportunity for two-way communication, all with the potential risks of communications other people can read… and then comment or re-tweet to show their support. For example, TiVo’s Customer Support pages include content created by the company’s tech support, as well as suggested answers from other TiVo users.
- Provide support that helps end users: Businesses as a whole are not the ones calling your customer support, reaching out to their account managers at your company, or combing through your “help” materials. Individuals are potentially losing time when they experience hiccups or problems with what they have purchased from you. Ensure that your support information is timely and easy to find. Typing a search term through an endless online catalog is not going to earn any rave reviews on your website.