Quick, what do the following have in common?
“Business that sells products or provides services to other businesses.”
“Marketing efforts directed from one business to another.”
“An area of advertising for products, services, resources, materials, and supplies purchased and used by businesses.”
“… the marketing of goods and services to businesses in order to keep those companies operating.”
These are all some of the many definitions of the term Business-To-Business Marketing/Advertising.
What else do they all have in common?
None of them mention the word “human” or “person” or “people!”
Ok, I understand the literal definition of B2B would not include such a reference but maybe it should!
I once had a long, detailed conversation with a client of mine who could not for the life of him grasp the concept that while he was trying to sell his wares, products and or services to another business… there was in fact another human being on the other end of his sales pitch and not a building of bricks and mortar!
I tried, in vein I’m afraid, to convince him that even though it’s technically one business to another, you still have to have some human element infused in the advertising and marketing collateral.
Even something as seemingly innocuous as a salutation on a letter.
Don’t you think “Dear Mr. Jones” or “Dear Bob” sound better than “Dear Fellow Business Owner?” or something hideous like that?
(NOTE: I know ALL about the value of personalization and how response rates increase exponentially and all that good stuff! I was merely making a point!)
I tried time and again to infuse some sense of conversationalism into the copy and overall feel of his mar comm pieces. He wasn’t going for it.
So, the campaign rolled out as the client’s direction and… failed miserably. Needless to say he was none to pleased. BUT… he did have the sense to realize his mistake and a short time later, we tried it “my” way and it was a rousing success. Ok, maybe not rousing, but it was successful!
Point being kids…
When it comes to “Business To Business” in the context of marketing & advertising, remember, there’s a fellow human being on the other end of the line with feelings, emotions, good days and bad days… just like you.