One big breakup, many dating apps, jokes with my cofounder Andrew around his "conversion rates" and coffee with one of my sales team confirmed it - B2B marketing and sales are just like dating.
I mean it's obvious when you think about it. Are these sentences referring to B2B marketing or dating?
When you put yourself out there you need be okay with rejection.
First impressions are everything, they will make the decision in the first 8 seconds.
Waiting awkwardly in a public place is a necessary evil.
If the person comes with a recommendation from someone you know you are automatically more interested in them.
Technology helps you reach new people, but it's hard to stand out.
Honesty and transparency up front make for a lasting relationship.
Authenticity is attractive.
You have to deal with the harsh reality you won't be everyone's cup of tea.
Don't just talk about yourself the whole time, listening is more important.
Don’t get too excited after the first meeting there is a long way to go yet, and be careful with how many messages you send after the first encounter.. You don’t want to seem too keen.
It's all about the conversion rate, how many can you take from initial meeting across the line!
Why do you love the brands you love?
In all seriousness what it really boils down to is human to human connection. Whether it's a B2B marketing campaign aiming to convert a customer into a lifelong advocate, or someone you met on a date that you want to spend the rest of your life with. There aren't that many differences because at the end of the day its not B2B, or B2C, its H2H - human to human connection.
So I decided to test something - the magic list - you know the list of all the things you look for in your perfect partner. Oh come on everyone's got one whether its in your head or written down in the back of a notepad! Anyway I decided to write out my list (removed certain things like 'blonde surfer with a six pack' and stuck to traits).
This is what I wrote;
- A great communicator
- Someone I can trust and depend on
- Someone whose not afraid to be vulnerable and authentic
- Someone who makes me laugh
- Someone who is thoughtful
- Someone who is adventurous and spontaneous
- Someone who isn't afraid to say sorry when they are wrong
- Someone with an ambitious vision for their future and their place in the world
- Someone with a kind and caring heart
- Someone who respects who I am
I then asked myself the question - what should we strive for in B2B marketing and what do I look for in a brand I love, one I'll give my loyalty too. Guess what. It's pretty much the same.
Yet brands often don’t act this way…
- They get scared to communicate when things go wrong or when they’ve messed up.
- They get complacent with a good product or service and assume people will just come back.
- They don’t talk to people like a real human.
- They get tunnel vision and focus only on maximizing results for shareholders without a care about the planet or people.
And we all know what happens in relationships when we hide things, don’t communicate in language people can understand, forgot to create thoughtful moments...
Divorce! And we don’t want that now do we!
So how do we take the learnings from dating and our personal relationships and apply them to B2B marketing? Well just like in dating we must remember what humans really want. To be spoken to with kind words, to be vulnerable and authentic and in general treat each other like the wonderful humans they are not like a number on a spreadsheet.
Applying lessons in love to B2B marketing
How can we do that (other than sending Inkpact campaigns obviously)?!
3 simple things can make your B2B marketing more human:
- Read aloud your messaging. Does it feel weird & awkward? If it doesn’t sound right when you read it aloud to your friend then don’t bother sending it.
- Spread random acts of kindness. Surprise and delight when customers are least expecting it. Put yourself out there and send something just because it's a nice thing to do, thank your customer for keeping your brand alive, be spontaneous just like you would when you are dating and give generously. Trust in the process that what you give you get back.
- Be kind. Not just to your customers but to the planet too. Do something because it's serving humanity in some way. It doesn’t have to be big or cost money, frugal wows make an impact too.