BtoB and BtoC no longer exist. Now the approach becomes HtoH: Human to Human
Everything comes back and everything repeats itself. And marketing is no exception.
The spectators, bombarded every day by advertisements, are increasingly looking for something different. They demand simplicity and want to be taken into account. They distrust the millions of slogans with which brands try to emerge and want to be heard and understood, also because, fortunately, TV is no longer the only channel of communication. Actually, in the digital age we have interactive channels where brands and people can meet. Are you wondering what I’m talking about? Obviously, social networks.
Times when marketing and, also, communication were seen as something purely commercial are over. Now we are looking for the primordial value of life, inherent in the very nature of man: the relationship between people.
Stop to listen to the conversations that connect millions of people online. They are your goal. Don’t think you can sell just because yours is the leading company that sells the best products. Get off your pedestals instead, blend in with people and learn to listen to them.
This may be scary, but we’ve reached the Human to Human era.
Bryan Kramer, CEO of PureMatter, one of the world’s biggest influencers, was the first to speak out about this new vision in his book “There is no B2B or B2C. It’s Human to Human #H2H”.
He noted that classic advertisers had learned to communicate “business-to-business”. (B2B) or “business to consumer” (B2C). And all this had led to the birth of an unnatural language, called “corporate” by many people, to describe their products, using terms that do not communicate. The customer, on the contrary, wants to feel emotions.
This new theory shows us the breaking of the only objective of traditional marketing – to obtain a profit, and the return of the centrality of the customer or, better, of the person.
The establishment of a new relationship, which lays its foundations on the exchange of sensibility, values and opinions and in which the brand becomes reliable, credible and responsible, thus becomes indispensable.
B2B and B2C. The past.
The term B2B defines the relationship between companies. Purchase decisions require a series of rational analyses of the proposal. So you benefit from a very small customer base even if they are often long-lasting. This is the case of a company’s relationship with a supplier of raw materials or products needed for maintenance. In this context there is rational and informative communication. The reputation that the company has earned, i.e. the guarantee, credibility, reliability is very important in this type of relationship.
In the case of B2C we speak of the relationship between company and customer. It is not enough that the product is good, but it must be well-publicized, in order to beat the competition. And it is important the role of commercial communication that, in the past, corresponded to Above-the-Line advertising, that is press, TV, and radio. Now the most effective communication takes place online, and web marketing is the best tool for B2C.
Human to Human. The new watchword for companies.
Now let’s think about this for a second. In the case of both a company and a customer, a target is always a person.
So why not talk directly to the people to convince? You have to persuade them, but also make them understand that this is the right product for them. And this applies whether it is a simple consumer or the marketing manager of a company.
This is where the Human to Human approach comes into its own.
You need to address the human side of people. Everyone is looking for a company that communicates with them in a simple, informal way, and that meets their needs.
H2H is a real mindset that the company must adopt. It needs to permeate every social post and every kind of communication.
The customer is no longer a passive target, who must suffer the bombardment of communications by companies to benefit from the imposed product. Now, with the age of socials, people say their opinion without worries or filters. And, since human needs must not be imposed, they expect the company to meet the person, not the opposite. In this sense, the company has started asserting its market leadership and ended trying to communicate with the customer. Because the latter has a heart and brain, which makes it feel whenever it communicates with the brand through Twitter or Facebook.
Target? In H2H there is the person.
Identify the public
In the past, a firm point of marketing strategy was the target setting. The target was seen as the person to whom one’s product was targeted, i.e. the potential customer. Then the so-called buyer personas, i.e. the most interesting type profiles for your business, were identified. But it was a cold process, which only aimed at identifying the recipient of a product.
In other words, one identified the audience of one’s buyers: from the teenager, a two-wheeler who browses the internet in the afternoon, to the little girl who loves tricks and uses her mobile phone to keep up to date, and many others.
The H2H approach changes this point of view. No longer a target, but a person. As Prof. Luigi Ferrari stated in his book “From target to partner. A new communication paradigm for the success of the company”.
The company extends its hand to its client to establish a lasting and interactive relationship, trying to satisfy their needs.
Now the client is seen and considered as a specific individual, by gender, hobbies, age, interest, and more. For this reason, the more information you have, the easier the communication will be. So aim to define your client and go into detail. Find out as much as you can. The more you know, the more you can use to draw his attention to your product.
Communicate with the consumer. No more corporate-language in the H2H approach.
You have to break into the consumer’s heart. Expressions like “we offer 360° services” or “we are industry leaders” communicate absolutely nothing. Put these emotionless expressions aside and put humanity into it. That’s the keyword. The buyer no longer wants to feel like a number or an abstract entity. So put away your cold, useless “corporate-like”. The buyer wants his wishes to be heard. He wants to be informed and decides for himself what to choose, establishing almost direct contact with the company.
So you define your audience and call them in a confidential manner. Leave the sentences aside and aim for concreteness. Constantly update your knowledge and information about the person you are interested in. Only in this way can you establish a relationship of trust and readiness for change. It’s not enough to take care of the brand and leave phrases that affect social media, you have to show that you know the people you are talking to and be attentive to their every need. The client wants to feel important and wants their needs to be important to you. You have to create a human relationship and show that you are willing to answer every question in a friendly way. Customer satisfaction is essential.
It is important, therefore, to communicate in a direct, fun, up-to-date way. You have to move out of the classic channels and talk directly with the client, getting them excited and involved.
Not just amounts in H2H. Better quality!
It’s better to create customized messages based on the customer, rather than sending many and all the same, with the certainty that they will be punctually trashed. It is more important to get a new satisfied customer who can bring others with positive reviews.
Your goal must be to make positive conversations that can help bring in new buyers in a targeted manner. No illusions or false promises. Customer satisfaction is important and a good dialogue can help. These are important points in the H2H approach.
Storytelling. An H2H marketing strategy.
Compelling storytelling is a key requirement to make customers curious and attract them to the brand.
You need to engage the people your brand is targeting and engage them in an effective, yet credible storytelling.
Don’t forget the details and remember to show rather than describe. The “show, don’t tell” must be your imperative to make the story compelling and make the reader feel part of it. It must be a sensory and unique experience. Beyond the true and objective story, it has to be the details that make the difference and make the reader feel attached to your product.
Your team is important. In H2H you show the reality behind the company.
Showing what’s behind a brand is important. Making the abstract idea of a company disappear and fixing the fact that it is made up of people, that you can show and describe, brings you closer to the consumer. So he can link the name of the company to people he can trust. Videos and photos of employees, showing behind the scenes of the companies, ignite interest in the brand. Social networking is a possibility, so use it to show the reality of your company.
And put your face on it yourself. Put yourself on the line.
Various channels for H2H. The digital age and the buyer.
Remember that there are many channels to find possible buyers. So get busy. Remember that each customer interacts on some social network and intercepts their needs before the others. Then plan how to get to them, with extensive preparation, ranging from direct mailing to targeted advertising.
Never focus on just one channel and don’t forget the human approach, because it is essential to inspire trust.
Human to Human: advantages. Don’t be afraid to change.
But what should be the benefits for a company?
Well, certainly courage is fundamental: it is not easy to change approach. However, there are undoubted benefits of value. First of all, the opportunity to build long-term relationships with customers, which will gain trust and security. This positive feedback will then serve to expand the customer network in a lasting and effective way. And, no less important, the dialogue established with the customer will help to identify changes in the demands of their market.
So, are you ready to humanize your brand?
Show yourself for who you are. In a world where digital seems to monopolize people’s lives, it aims to establish a real relationship. Human-to-Human, also known as Heart-to-Heart, must involve people.
The brand is not what you say your company is, but the result of what others say. That’s why you must try to make people talk about it well. Never lie or write something you don’t want your wife or mother to read. You must be trusted. You must show empathy and create a simple and effective dialogue.
Intercept the people your product is aimed at and talk to them directly by calling them “you”. Shorten the distance in a digital world. And remember that the world has changed. It’s up to you to get to the buyer and win their interest.
An example? Let’s say we deal with diapers. We know that our client will be a new mum who has to try to bargain with the thousands of models around. Let’s also assume they’re disposable diapers. We know that an advertisement focused on the quality of the product would be sterile: we will have to hit the mother’s heart, looking for certainties with a sentence like “The soft diaper is sewn on your baby and irritations will no longer be a problem”, rather than “The most sold, soft and comfortable diaper”. The goal will be to touch the new mother’s apprehension, obviously focusing on the real thing.
It is important not to tempt customers with negative publicity, because they will create negative reviews.
H2H is a way to be in all areas. Reliability, seriousness must always come first. It’s important to satisfy a customer in a lasting way, rather than conquer a temporary hundred.
And don’t forget to personalize. A personalized communication in which you make Giorgia feel important because Giorgia touches the psychological sphere and will make her experience enjoyable. Giorgia will feel important and not one of many and will share her positive opinions on social issues, increasing the credibility of the company.
Human-to-Human is the right mindset for people who want to make their users feel important. But remember that it’s up to you to establish a communication that makes them feel important. Cuddle them. Be fun and always present. Don’t abandon them. The relationship must be lasting and not end after the purchase.
Don’t forget, again, that a system of relations between company and buyer must develop in which everything must be coherent and linear and that it is essential that you put your face into it.