While data and databases have become the lifeblood of a company’s new business activities, it’s really important to remember the human element that underlies the myriad of marketing disciplines. Too often businesses can fall into the trap of thinking about marketing in its more abstract form, devoid of the vast amount of differing personalities that play an integral part in every aspect, from the most esoteric to the most ubiquitous.
It’s tempting to think that in B2B database terms ‘big is beautiful’. However, this perception is loaded with peril. After all, who wants to be treated like a record on a database? As Jess Marranco writes on ‘The Era of Human Brand’ – In 2013, advertising agency, Hill Holliday, and brand strategy consulting firm, Lippincott, released the “Welcome to the Human Era” report, which evaluates brands and separates those that are Human Era brands as opposed to Industrial Era. What exactly does it mean to be a Human Era brand? According to the report, being a Human Era brand goes beyond merely saying that one is more “human.” It requires an authentic story delivered consistently through an inspiring experience. It requires hard work — establishing organisational values and commitments that are customer driven, while also driving them toward daily leadership decision-making and employee behaviours. Those brands who fit the Human Era brand mould are creatively paving the way for a new world of marketing that sparks an emotional connection with the audience.
Success in business to business sales is all about uncovering and engaging the right buyers with a sensitive offer that is built around their needs and wants. So approaching decision-makers with a standardised or shoehorned message of any kind is a fundamentally flawed way of tackling the task of B2B sales. Instead by approaching marketing using a practice commonly described as the ‘segment of one’ enables companies to treat every potential buyer as unique and tailor their messaging specifically around their needs.
This means you have to segment the data very carefully and then engage with potential buyers to understand more about what their needs are well before you try to transact with them. Increasingly, service and customer experience have become important as markets continue to become more saturated. Reach Force’ article ‘The 3 Most Popular Methods of Segmentation for B2B’ dissects the protocol for engaging with your potential buyers, segmenting customers by three specific means – firmographics, tiering and, finally, needs. They say “customer segmentation is powerful, because it allows the marketer to draw an accurate picture of their customers, group them according to similarities, and devise pinpointed messages to specific segments of their customer base. Inevitably, these messages are personalised and tailored, which results in a significantly higher number of conversions. But there is no one single way of segmenting customers that is clearly the best option.”
Only companies who are able to adapt around the needs of unique customers or prospects will really get the benefits that good customer experience, referrals, and repeat purchase can deliver. For the Human Era brand, two-way communication, focusing on the client’s unique needs and requirements is what sets a company apart. Blue Donkey has seen the benefits in this regard, by understanding that no brand is the same and each client needs that one-to-one experience, in order to forge lasting and mutually beneficial relationships.