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Forget B2B & B2C – Modern Marketing is About P2P Relationships

Business Gets Personal

With many businesses we know and love closing their doors to the public during this unprecedented time, both companies and customers are left at a stalemate. How are businesses going to communicate with their customers? How will customers communicate with their favorite businesses? How will businesses continue to do business with other businesses? The coronavirus has cemented a trend that’s been brewing for a long time. Successful sales and marketing are all about building person-to-person (P2P) relationships.

Blurring the Line Between B2C and B2B

The line between business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing has been getting fuzzier, even before the coronavirus outbreak. Business has always been about relationships, but with the coronavirus outbreak, it’s gotten even more personal. Companies are now able to interact with an individual much easier. As B2B decision-makers stepped out from the office and started working from home it became easier to see them as individuals with full and complex lives, reminding B2B sellers that even though the business pays the bills, there’s a real person there guiding those choices. As habitual, convenience, and impulse-based consumer purchases fell off, B2C companies tapped back into the power of loyalty and customer engagement. Personalization in the sales and marketing process draws people in and makes it more likely that the prospect will become an actual customer.

Tara Kelly, President and CEO of SPLICE Software, believes that during this time specifically, P2P is the way to go. “Marketers, now more than ever, need to ensure they are using empathy in their marketing communications. Without that, communication is seen as ‘taking advantage of the situation’, and no one wants that label.”

How Do You Change to P2P?

With digital being at the forefront, it is much easier to personalize ads and messages. Instead of trying to sell your product, you need to tell a story. Drag the customer in. Offer deals and sales on items that this particular customer buys a lot. Send emails to the customer if they left something in their cart but didn’t purchase it. Say their name! Tony Kavanagh, CMO of Insightly, said this about building a relationship with your customers, “Be empathetic. Focus on strengthening your relationship with your customers but for reasons that are genuine and thoughtful, ask how they are doing, exchange life stories of caution and triumph.”

All of these things, believe it or not, will show your customers that you care about each and every one of them. It does take a lot of patience and preparation to make the switch to person-to-person marketing, but with technology there to help, it’s entirely doable at every scale.

Pro Sales Tip from Mitchell Pilla, VP of Business Development at Blayzer Digital:

“Don’t just go for a meeting. Ask for a P2P conversation, and genuinely mean it. If you approach your prospects as people, you will learn so much more about their wants and needs and their challenges and goals. And you will have the chance to speak to your expertise and offer helpful advice they can actually use. If the business opportunity is there, it will come up. If it’s not, you’ll have positioned yourself as a source of real value to that person, and made a strong connection that could lead to something in the future.” 

Socrates once said, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” In other words, when making the switch to P2P, don’t look back on what you had. Instead build on what you can have. All of the changes that we have recommended in this blog series, especially the marketing strategy, can be attained much faster and hassle-free if you focus on building it rather than competing with what you previously had.