Business to business (B2B) marketing is an old term, and an even older way of thinking. Today, it’s failing to keep up with modern audiences, because it doesn’t know how to talk with them. It never really did. B2B marketing is not just dad-dancing at the effectiveness awards in a thinning crowd, it’s wheezing heavily. Too stuck in its ways to listen.

Yet the warnings have been shouted. In a Google/CEB poll a few years ago, 86% of buyers reported seeing “little if any real difference” between B2B suppliers and “did not value the difference” enough to pay for it.

More recently, a Gallup poll revealed that over two thirds of global B2B customers are either “indifferent” to their suppliers or have “actively disengaged” with them. Lower customer engagement means weaker customer loyalty. And it shows no signs of improving. The truth is, B2B is dying. But all it needs to do is change its lifestyle.

Because businesses don’t make decisions, people do.

The cause of B2B’s ailment is easy to diagnose: companies are so eager to sell their products and services, they often overlook the more vital sell of how the benefits will actually help their customers. They still fall back on “business speak”, especially because facts play an important part in their communications.

But however good the facts, company owners and marketers have taken too long to realise businesses don’t make decisions. People do. Failing to understand that is why so many B2B communications struggle to succeed. And it’s why most B2B comms are boring. Connecting with audiences on a personal level is the way to capture attention, enliven a relationship, and even bring dead leads back to life.

Goodbye B2B, hello P2P.

Although no-one’s going to drop the term B2B anytime soon (it still has a descriptive role), companies that don’t drop its way of thinking are being outpaced by those who do. It’s time to stop treating marketing like it’s shapeless businesses that buy products and services. It’s time for “business” brands to focus on the “person” in their communications. It’s time for B2B to become P2P.

The value of building a “persona”.

P2P marketing is all about more deeply understanding the decision-making person to whom you’re communicating, and what they really think about your product or service. The first vital step is to create a “Persona”.

A Persona enables you to “map” your customers in a more detailed way, so you can target the most profitable ones and communicate with them more effectively.

Bright Talk research has shown that using a customer persona when creating a B2B email campaign can double the open rate and increase click-through by 5x. Quite simply, the more factual and in-depth your buyer persona, the more direction and resonance your marketing communications will have.

CMDi’s Persona Builder tool – for built environment brands

As the UK’s leading creative and strategic marketing agency specialising in communications for the built environment, CMDi has been using Personas for some time. Our new Persona Builder tool now makes it easier than even to create a deeper, more accurate picture of your customers delivering insightful, actionable value and enabling more profitable customer relationships.

For a personal presentation of how CMDi’s Persona Builder and P2P marketing can increase the effectiveness of your communications, get in touch.

Dianne Lucas
Managing Director