People Matter – Even in B2B Marketing


Dennis Palmer, Content Strategist



It’s a new year, time to get a running start on making your marketing programs more powerful and effective than ever. 

The sun has set in Scottsdale and the first full day of B2BMX sessions is complete. The team at Content4Demand is teeming with inspiration and ideas to share with our clients. Here is a brief overview of some of our favorite sessions from today’s speakers.


 Humanizing the B2B Decision-Making Journey

 “If you talk to people the way content marketers talk to people, they would punch you in the face,” said Brian Solis, in his presentation today at the B2B Marketing Exchange conference.  Needless to say, he shocked some of the people in the audience with his words, but there was a lot of head nodding and murmured acknowledgements of this awkward truth.

Solis is a principal analyst at Altimeter Group, a Prophet company. He is also an award-winning author, prominent blogger/writer, and keynote speaker.

Brian’s presentation focused on Humanizing the B2B Decision Making Journey.  According to Brian, “The problem with B2B marketing is that it assumes that there are no humans in business.”

Brian is an outspoken proponent of P2P marketing – People to People marketing – rather than traditional B2B marketing. 

P2P marketing starts with understanding of who decision makers are as people – their wants, needs and desires, what keeps them up at night and what turns them on.  To engage with decision makers as people, you first need to understand the key initiatives they are responsible for in their company, what they need to succeed, and where they learn about new tools and best practices to develop as professionals and as people.

Knowing the steps people take in their decision-making process is vital to being able to provide them the information they need and want at the moment.  Even though this is widely accepted best-practice, only 35% of B2B marketing organizations took the time last year to map out their decision makers’ journeys, down from 54% the previous year.


 The Rise of Business to People

In his B2B Marketing Exchange presentation today, Paul Peterman, Head of Technology and Connectivity at Facebook, claimed that the #1 disrupter in B2B marketing today is mobile devices.  Paul said that people check their mobile devices about 150 times per day.

According to Paul, mobile devices account for half of business purchases. 

Today, the line between business life and personal life is blurring.  B2B marketers need to take into account the fact that their decision makers may switch from writing a business document to ordering a pair of shoes, while sitting at the same desk and working on the same screen, probably from home. 

This context means that B2B marketers are being held to the same high standards as B2C marketers.  B2B marketers need to be able to deliver a satisfying customer experience to people, especially on mobile devices, by adopting a mobile-first communications strategy.

Millennials are becoming the new B2B purchase influencers, and their behavior and media habits are very different from the previous generation.  Mobile devices and a broad array of social medial channels are used heavily by millennials.

B2B decision makers are 50% more likely to be Facebook users, according to Paul.  B2B marketers are having success using Facebook to build brand awareness and engage B2B decision makers.

Understanding the behavior and media habits of the people who are making B2B purchasing decisions is another way of getting to know your customers as real people. Providing information in the channels preferred by the people you are having a conversation with makes a big difference in how many people you reach, and in the level of trust that is developed with them.


The Eclipse of Advertising and What It Means To Your Content Strategy

Rebecca Lieb of Kaleido Insights is a strategic advisor, research analyst, keynote speaker, author, and columnist. Her areas of specialization are digital marketing and media, with a concentration in content strategy, content marketing and converged media. Her presentation today at B2B Marketing Exchange focused on The Eclipse of Online Advertising – Why Marketers Must Optimize Efforts by Prioritizing Content Within the Digital Mix.

If B2B marketers believe that the people they are trying to reach appreciate online advertising, they may want to consider some of the facts that Rebecca shared today.  She feels that online banner ads are in eclipse.  The click-through rate on banner ads is only 0.06%, and 50% of those clicks are accidental. The use of ad blocking technology by people grew by 41% in the last 12 months.

Rebecca recommends a multi-channel marketing strategy with a heavy emphasis on quality content that speaks directly to the needs of the people who make the buying decisions.  Content that is too focused on your product, especially when presented early in the buyer’s journey, is not well accepted or trusted.  Instead, information that helps educate and inform people is highly valued.


Balancing Community, Conversation & Conversion

In his presentation today, Brian Fitzgerald, CMO of CA Veracode called for B2B marketers to stop prioritizing what’s in it for them, and flip the lens around and focus on what’s in it for customers. He favors an un-marketing approach in which marketing becomes a public service to people who may eventually become customers.  By providing expertise for free in the early stages of the buyer’s journey, trust is developed and loyalty is built.


In the end, B2B marketing is all about building a relationship with the people who may become buyers of your product by getting to know them and having a personal conversation that helps them achieve their personal and business goals.

If that wasn’t enough for you, no problem. We’ll be back tomorrow with a recap of the final day events of B2BMX. Interested in diving deeper into some of the sessions we mentioned? Content4Demand Content Strategists are eager to hear from you and talk shop! 


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