Inbound 2016: We’re Not B2B Marketers – We’re B2H Marketers
Reading time: 4 fun mins!
I am sitting here at Inbound 2016, excited and energized as thousands of participants from across a wide spectrum of industries gather to discuss and debate the ongoing developments in the world of Inbound marketing. It has been an amazing few days and I wanted to share a few takeaways from the keynote speech, educational breakouts and networking discussions.
There is no denying it, since Inbound’s inception in 2006, the past ten years have brought tremendous change to the way marketing and sales are conducted across all industries.
HubSpot Co-founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, noted in his opening of the dynamic changes that have led to an ongoing marketing revolution. The process of corporate decision making, regarding marketing and sales has shifted for a number of external reasons.
Cold-calling was once a primary mode of targeting and closing potential clients, but then came along Caller-ID and the National Do Not Call Registry. These two outside influences rendered cold-calling an ineffective sales model, because people would either no longer answer the call or the company's number would simply be blocked.
Emails used to also be a major marketing route, but new technologies and innovations are closing that road as well. True, they’re still used for internal communication, but filters block unwanted emails and send anything perceived as spam into the "spam folder". In fact, Gmail now sorts all incoming emails into primary, social and promotional folders, thus leaving many unseen by the user. It is more difficult than ever to use email as a primary marketing tool.
However, aside from the technical reason, people will still open an email if there is context behind the content. Does the content directly address the unique needs of the potential client?
The Internet has risen from a billion users a decade ago to almost 3.5 billion people today. However, the size is not the only thing that has changed. Videos, both pre-recorded and live, are becoming a more prominent advertising tool. As people demand a shorter and more concise message, companies must adapt their messaging style to fit that new reality.
Social Media has provoked companies and organizations to consider the ways in which it has changed B2C relationship. Strong and well-coordinated online social media presence via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn among others, has created a "coffee shop effect", they come for the coffee, but stay for the dynamic conversation, captivating and interesting content your company produces. The aim of all social platforms is for their followers/users to never leave the site. Provide all services.
The traditional method of finding advertisements is changing, as Facebook lead ads are becoming more prevalent and popular. People are no longer searching through their local newspapers, they are watching what is coming through their Facebook feeds.
This is part of a wider trend that melds paid marketing and paid content via the social networks to give the potential client the feeling that “we are all friends trying to help each other out”. The selling takes on a very social nature and becomes almost warm and inviting. We are no longer talking about B2B or B2C, it is now, if you may, B2H (business to human).
Let’s be honest, we live in a buyer's world
This new form of B2H combined with the colossal size of the internet has sparked new buyer demands. Prospects essentially expect to receive a taste of your product, known as trial offers. The number of suppliers of any product (physical or technical) are so great your potential buyer can almost always go somewhere else.
Furthermore, the budy-budy feeling generated by social media outlets, creates an illusion of friendship between business and customer. The initial target is not to get someone to actually buy your product, but to get their foot in the door via the trial offer. In addition to the free trials, innovative and captivating content is needed in order to keep your customers coming back for more.
Businesses should remember that word of mouth (i.e. sharing, likes….) heavily influences our presence and success in the market today, everyone should aim to harness this power.
The entire process comes down to understanding the heartbeat of your audience and creating a cycle that will guarantee continued success. This bearing in mind that change comes quickly and large companies must remain very focused and attentive or risk being swallowed up by new companies with fresh perspectives.
Here is a short outline on how to ensure growth in our ever changing marketing environment.
- Commission: Commission should not be based on revenue alone, but on customer success rates.
- Pricing model: The pricing model should be closely related to customer success – make sure your pricing model serves your customers.
- Recurring revenue: Customer success depends on a recurring revenue model, make sure these are aligned.
When we add value to our customers, in addition to value from them, it's a win-win for all.
I am having a blast and learning tons. If you haven’t been to Inbound yet, there’s always 2017.