B2B, B2C, PPC, SEM, SEO – marketing is a world full of three-lettered acronyms. But have you ever heard of P2P? It could be the world’s most obvious marketing secret that could mean the difference between you trumping your competitors or them trumping you.
I thought I was very smart when I came up with the acronym P2P in the shower (that’s where everyone’s best marketing ideas come to life, right?) Turns out, a quick Google search of ‘person to person’ or ‘people-to-people’, opens a world of marketing resources. So much so, that I predict it is only a matter of time before we see ‘business-to-business’ and ‘business-to-consumer’ replaced with ‘person-to-person’ in marketing literature.
Why is person-to-person marketing the future?
At the forefront of every business, stands a person (or people) and guess who is making the purchasing decisions on the other side? You guessed it, A PERSON. It could be the founding director, the CEO, the General Manager or the Executive Assistant. The ‘role title’ isn’t the point, the point is that you are trying to sell to a person. Let’s call them ‘Charlie’.
It is easy to view Charlie as a ticket to increasing your bottom line, rather than as a human with interests and passions, struggles and pain points and all the other things that make people, people.
Seeing Charlie purely as a piece of data, a demographic, or a number can have severe impacts on the level of success you, as a business owner, experience. Why? Because Charlie doesn’t feel like you are making a connection.
Don’t get me wrong, categorising your target market into one of the two camps (B2B or B2C) can be beneficial when strategising your marketing mix, BUT this should be secondary to the P2P approach. At the core of your marketing strategy (and your business for that matter) you should see Charlie for what Charlie is… a person.
The playing field has changed…
There is no denying it, the digital era has dramatically changed the business landscape. In ‘the old world’, a Brisbane store could feel rest assured that their Brisbane-based customers would choose to shop with them. Now, a retail shop set up in Toronto, Canada can easily acquire a customer from Brisbane, Australia.
Consumers are spoiled for choice and they know it! We are now living in the information era. This means the customer-journey has become a far more complex and dynamic experience, as customers jump from one website to another gathering all the information they can before making a purchase.
You cannot change human behaviour, that is not the goal. The goal here is to ensure that your business is THE business they decide to make a purchase with!
But in a digital world saturated with businesses offering the exact same thing as you, how can you secure that customer? Make a human connection.
The importance of human connection…
Humans are social beings. We live in packs (a.k.a. families) and acquire friends, this is because we are psychologically wired to make connections. At the risk of sounding dramatic, this psychological need for connectivity is, in part, what drives prisoners insane in solitary confinement.
When we do make these connections, we have formed a bond and that bond can be very powerful.
Let’s go back to our friend, Charlie.
Let me put it to you like this, if Charlie was run down with the cold – would they take chicken soup from a cold steel robot or from a warm, nurturing mother? Charlie would choose the nurturing option every time!
Here is another one for you; who is Charlie more likely to forgive when they make a mistake – their best friend or a complete stranger? If you answered ‘complete stranger’ it may be worth getting to know Charlie a little better (or you can take this test here).
Creating and maintaining a genuine and authentic connection with your target market on a human level is priceless. This is because you are opening the conversation. Genuine human relationships require a dialogue. You can’t expect Charlie to show you loyalty without you developing the relationship through interaction. This interaction is affording you a valuable opportunity to learn more about your customer, Charlie, and deepen that relationship, ensuring that Charlie returns to you time and time again instead of your competitor.
Big and small businesses alike are jumping on the importance of human connection with Keith Grossman, global chief revenue officer at Bloomberg Media telling AdWeek “that if you humanize your brand and show the consumer base that you care about them it’s a far better place to be in”.
Marketing tools to help you become a P2P-Master
Live Streaming via Facebook and Instagram
Nothing beats the immediacy of live theatre! Put the script in the shredder and connect with your audience. If you are passionate about what you are talking about, the viewers will feel it and if you fumble and stuff up, even better – it shows you are human.
Bonjoro is an email marketing tool that is putting the faces behind the scenes at the front of their customers’ screens (yes, that rhymed).
In their own words… “What we didn’t anticipate was just how much of an impact taking the time to personally welcome each new signup would have. Very quickly we noticed response rates double and we started getting a lot more love from the customers we sent videos to.”
Remember the days of the handwritten cards and thank you notes? Well, Thankly does and they are bringing it back. Imagine the warm fuzzies a customer would feel upon receiving a handwritten (and personalised) note with their order.
Marketing tips to help you become a P2P-Master…
Be honest, authentic and relatable
Remember when your mum told you that you were perfect the way you are and that you should embrace it. Well, I am telling you that now. Go out into the world and be you!
Position the business owner/founder as the business’s face.
Thankyou.Co does this. Collabosaurus does this. Business Chicks does this. Virgin does this. Lorna Jane does this. Heck, Donald Trump does this. And guess what? Countless scores of businesses do this. Why? Because humans want to connect with humans, and who better to feel connected to then the founding owner of the whole damn thing?
Use social media to be… well, social
Social media is the prime place to show that your business has originality, flair and personality. Comment, chat and connect with people. We wrote a whole article on social media hints and tips – click here to read.
Research other ‘humanized’ businesses and see how they do it…
A good place to start is by checking out the Jamie Oliver conglomerate, MailChimp’s Second Brain campaign and of course Richard Branson’s Virgin brand.
Feeling a little overwhelmed with all the three-letter acronyms and marketing jargon? Leave it to the experts. Send us a message or one better give us a call (07 3358 5062). We are humans after all.