The biggest barrier to personalisation in marketing is not really having a clue who you are talking to. In B2B marketing we see so much activity devoid of human insight, incapable of building deeper relationships.
Without this knowledge, it becomes almost impossible to be alert to the needs of the real person you are trying to communicate with, whether relating to life goals or business goals.
Instead, individuals blend into a kind of zombie persona – and your marketing invariably follows suit: characterless, slow moving, and potentially dangerous!
Why is that, and what can we do about it?
We all know businesses sell to people, and yet it’s still staggering how often the people bit gets overlooked in B2B.
Perhaps this is because we’re so fixated by addressing the complications of the B2B world:
- Longer, more difficult sales cycles
- The rigidity of contractual service levels
- Huge time investment needed to deal with complexity
- The magnifying effect of having multiple decision makers
Dealing with that lot, it’s easy to forget the simple human truth of marketing: the path to success lies in maintaining personal contact and dialogue between people.
So how can we apply this logic to B2B marketing today (and by today I really do mean ‘now’):
- Start acting on the mind-set that every customer and prospect is a person with unique needs, not a characterless dead-head.
- Take an editorial approach to embracing today’s in-market topics, and build the capability to blend them into your marketing, in real time.
- Tailor content with insights and ideas that map to (and resonate with) the real people you are trying to reach. Product knowledge alone isn’t enough.
- Red Letter Day – do something to make people feel special and recognised. Think about birthdays, significant professional dates, or complimentary product upgrades.
- Make it your business to understand the stakeholder structures within target organisations and invest in making multiple relationships to widen impact.
- Repeat the above.
So, kill the zombie marketing, and next time you’ll know exactly how to answer the question:
Do you have any idea who you’re talking to and what motivates them?