I spent the first several years of my career on B2C marketing. I’ve spent the last several years on B2B marketing. Until I realized I’ve really spent the entire time on B2P marketing.
It’s kind of a BS term. I’m no fan of jargon—especially the fake marketing guru terms of people trying to “redefine an industry.” But this is one I think you can use to understand and share an important point.
B2P marketing is my BS term for business-to-people marketing.
You see, businesses don’t buy anything. They don’t make decisions. They can’t like or dislike your company. No matter how many lovable mascots they may have. It may be deceptive, because the business’s name is usually the one that’s on the check. But no matter how many layers you have to dig through, every business decision is made by a person. Flesh, blood, comb-overs and all.
That means if you’re doing content marketing, every person you want to attract with your content is a real human. They have hopes, fears, hobbies, bills, favorites foods, and families. If you’re trying to get their attention, you’re not fighting for their time against whitepapers from your competitors. You’re fighting your buyer’s Facebook feed, their favorite blog, a funny YouTube video, binging a new Netflix show, or maybe even texting with their mistress. Is your content interesting or valuable enough to divert their attention from those things? If not, you’re missing the boat.
The majority of B2B marketing content isn’t dull and conservative because it has to be. It’s that way because someone has chosen to make it that way. It’s that way because somewhere along the way, a marketing manager has forgotten there’s a person on the other end of the content. And forgetting that is dangerous. Because sooner or later, one of your competitors will remember that fact, and they’ll eat your lunch.
A good salespeople knows that sharing an alma mater with a potential customer is more valuable than a thousand brochures. Because people have to trust you before they’ll believe you, and they have to believe you before they’ll buy. People make emotional decisions, and use rational facts and figures to justify them. Sometimes they know they’re doing it. Sometimes they might not even realize that’s how they’re making a decision. This is just as true for marketing as it is for sales.
It’s a classic B2B tagline that got to the heart of the company’s key selling point. Buy IBM if you want to feel safe and secure in your job. Sure, there were dozens of facts and figures on datasheets to help make your case. But the real reason you bought IBM was to not get fired. IBM wasn’t for mavericks trying to move up fast. It was for people who wanted to collect a check and go home on time.
Don’t let your company hide behind the B2B label as an excuse to be boring, conservative or uncreative. B2B is not a justification, it’s an excuse. If you really want to create content that moves the needle, remember you’re marketing to people and that your competition is not “5 Ways to Operate More Efficiently,” but Desperate Housewives and “10 Celebrity Body Transformations You Won’t Believe.” Your content doesn’t have to be crazy. It just has to get your customer’s attention and connect with them emotionally.
It’s easy for me to sit here and tell you to make an emotional connection, but much harder to execute. That’s actually one of my pet peeves about so much “education” and “thought leadership” about content marketing. It’s easy to say “make great content” but really difficult to do. It’s no different than saying “make a great airplane.” It doesn’t mean you have any idea how to do it. So I won’t leave you here with empty content marketing platitudes.
Here is my simple-as-it-can-get formula for helping you figure out how to come up with content that makes an emotional connection with your audience.
Here’s an example
Now go forth, and put some humanity back into B2B marketing.