Before we dive into H2H marketing, think about which industries are under threat of being completely automated. Which ones come to mind? Automobiles? Customer service? Banking? These are all common answers and could possibly be in trouble within a couple of decades. Scary thoughts. What about marketing? No way…. right?
In marketing, you will always need a human aspect. Even if you are just plugging in values for some strings of code to send out emails or designing a new logo, humans are still needed. Why? Because technology is not complex enough to build relationships with customers. Ultimately, marketing is understanding a human’s wants and needs; to understand what makes people tick. As of 2021, bots can’t quite do that yet.
H2H Marketing Defined
I am sure you have heard of B2B or B2C marketing. What about H2H? Human-to-Human, or H2H marketing, focuses on the fact that behind every business you have humans making the decisions. Having an H2H marketing strategy allows you to create content that connects to people on an emotional level and resonates with their wants and needs. B2B (Business to Business) and B2C (Business to Customer) strategies share many similar characteristics, but the key decision-maker may have different drivers. If B2B and B2C marketing are “the what,” H2H marketing is “the how.” H2H (Human to Human) is different from how B2B and B2C strategies are traditionally defined. Before H2H marketing, there was outbound marketing. Cold calls, billboards, paid reviewers, etc., are all examples of outbound marketing. On the other hand, inbound marketing includes blog posts, video content, opt-in emails, and the overall goal is to create an experience that the customer will resonate with. Think of outbound marketing as a person using a megaphone to broadcast their message, and inbound marketing is the person passing out flyers and creating relationships. That being said, H2H and inbound marketing are the new ways forward.
Why? Because, there are 8000 software options available for marketers as of 2020, according to Martech and Scott Brinker. Even with all these options for marketers, in the end, software is only that. A betting man would say they are missing the relationship-building piece with 100% confidence and constantly reassuring you that he’s seen this before.
Here are 3 reasons how H2H marketing focuses on customer relationships and makes you more profitable:
1. It’s impossible to put a price on trust
A customer’s trust is priceless. Let’s say, for example, Joanna sees your ad on Google. She decides to click on your website, and she finds your brand image to be trustworthy. Then makes a purchase. Simple. Joanna then tells her friends about her recent purchase, and then they also decide to make purchases as well. The same could apply to B2B marketers. Let’s say Joanna is a decision-maker at her company. She sees your ad on Google, post on LinkedIn, or did some work with you. Then decides to recommend you to her colleagues since you were so easy to do business with and responded quickly to her product questions. This referral-based level of H2H marketing is about building relationships with customers and trust in your company which leads us to the next reason.
2. Marketing is about creating relationships and nurturing them
One of our marketing associates recalls a story where this point was the difference between a new customer and a forgotten memory. “I remember when I applied for my first credit card. I asked my parents which one I should apply for, and they recommended the one with the best customer service.” The credit card company formed a relationship with his parents, and they, in turn, guided him on the path to doing business with that company. These relationships can also prove fruitful, so it is essential to garner them.
The moral of the story is: many software platforms offer “personalized” (okay we all know they are not written just for us…) emails that are pre-written and auto-generated. Emails like this deter customers from making a purchase because they lack the personal relationship piece. These can leave the customers to think, “ugh, another one?” as they clear out their email inbox and press delete without even opening it.
3. Make it personal! People want to feel special. After all, we are human
We have all received those emails… you know the ones I am talking about. The ones that start with ADV: (cue the eye rolls…and get ready to delete!) How annoying is it to get a mass-marketed email that attempts to sound personal? Sometimes these emails will even use your LinkedIn name. For me, my LinkedIn has my middle name included. So, when they address me as “Ashlei ReNea,” it is a sure-fire way to know that this person got my contact info online, they don’t really know me, AND they didn’t take the time to personally reach out. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for mass emails- Newsletters for example are great ways to convey information to a broader audience. But when you are selling a product, don’t try to be personal in a mass email.
How to apply H2H Marketing Tactics
If you find your company sends out product updates, you can take the information from the mass email and pull out the important pieces, then craft a personalized message (yes, this means from your personal email account!). Ask them about their kid’s soccer game the past week or how their recent vacation was (hint: make it personal and communicate with heart). Then you can dive into how you ran across this product update and thought of them because you knew it would be a great fit for [fill in the blank] application. This is building up your rapport with your customer; showing them that you are invested in their life outside of work and that you went out of your way to think about them. Now, that communication is personal and nurtures your relationship to build trust with your customers. Compare that to the autofill form email before, it did none of those things.
Marketing Built for Lasting Relationships
In conclusion, there are certain things that you just need a person to tackle so you can build lasting customer relationships. For example, at Nerd Herd, our branding process involves hours on hours of research on your specific industry, competitors, and target audience. These things can be very dynamic and hard for a computer to understand because your business is more than just a bunch of 1s and 0s. This work can’t be auto-generated or figured out by an algorithm. Your business is unique and your brand strategy should be too. It needs to reflect the wants and needs of your audience so that you can build content that resonates with them and tells an unequivocally unique story. Being able to bring these stories to life is our specialty.
What do we do here at Nerd Herd?
We are a creative, results-oriented brand strategy company based in Maple Grove, MN. We offer a suite of services to take the work out of your creative needs leaving you with more time for the things that matter. We encourage you to think of us as part of your team. Most of our clients do!