We’re All in Business of Attention: How B2B Became B2H
I’ve never understood why B2B and B2C marketing are treated as two fundamentally separate beasts.
For some peculiar reason, B2B marketing has a reputation of being fact-based, formal, somewhat distant and cold.
While B2C marketing is considered to be emotional, entertaining and fun.
The thing is, even though the approaches might have started differently, they’re now converging on nearly identical objectives.
They both focus on selling and they both do it by focusing on customer needs.
Unlike historically, B2C marketing is now concerned with conversion rates and leads as a way of measuring the success of their marketing campaigns while B2B focuses on buyer personas, emotional messaging and branding to better connect with their targets.
All marketing is now B2H – business to human.
Why B2B and B2C marketing aren’t relevant more?
B2B and B2C marketing have lost their original meaning because all companies are now in the business of getting attention.
As a customer of any type of business, you are bombarded with thousands of marketing messages every day.
The company, that can get your attention, wins.
It’s not humanly possible to process all those thousands of marketing messages, so only the ones that stick out and speak to our needs, get a chance to be considered.
It’s all about attention – the scarcest resource on earth today!
Hence, integrating super personalised marketing into your strategy is a way for your business to say:
“I’m listening. I know what you need, and I can help you to get it.”
One of the companies that get B2H well is Shopify. Their improved B2B e-commerce platform helps newbie internet entrepreneurs with no technical skills to easily set up beautiful and professional-looking shop fronts that convert real humans, not faceless businesses.
All our buying decisions are emotional, not logical
All our decisions are subconscious – we are just not aware of it.
All humans are made of the same neurons that trigger emotions and drive us to behave in a certain way.
No one can switch off emotions when they go to work and switch them back on when they arrive home. You can try to mute them, but you will always be unconsciously driven by them.
Scientific research about the human brain shows that 95% of decisions are driven by subconscious urges, the biggest of which is emotion, which we then justify with logic. If you want to read more about it, click here.
If you can’t be bothered, here’s the summary in a nutshell:
The decision to buy is made subconsciously, and these subconscious decisions are based on a deeply empirical mental processing system that follows a logic of its own.
Our subconscious/intuitive decision to buy is then communicated to the conscious mind via an emotion. The conscious mind then searches for rational reasons, and that’s how we complete the circle: We justify our emotional signals to buy with logical reasons.
It’s human nature.
Both B2B and B2C customers use the same channels
Another reason B2B and B2C marketing is more similar than different is because of the omnichannel environment we live in.
Everyone hangs out on Facebook, Twitter, web, LinkedIn all day, regardless of whether it’s for work or personal reasons.
Which is why both B2B and B2C businesses are using social media to target their customers in the same place.
Marketing is becoming more platform-specific than strictly B2B or B2C.
This means that if your target customer ‘a marketing manager’ on Facebook and you want to get their attention about your B2B product, your messaging will need to be fun and emotional as opposed to dry and fact-based because that’s what the person browsing Facebook expects and that is what your competition is doing.
Platform-specific marketing considers a person’s state of mind on that particular platform as well as the competition (i.e what are other B2B and B2C companies doing on that channel to get people’s attention)
No matter who you’re marketing to, it’s crucial to always remind yourself that you are simply human marketing to another human and in order to market to humans, you need to get their attention first.
Attention is the new currency of any business.
You can only get a person’s attention if you know something special about them, something that makes them human.