B2B and B2C have been the dominant acronyms in the world of marketing for nearly my entire life. I think it’s time to introduce another acronym into the vernacular. I give you H2H marketing, human to human. If you think about it, B2B and B2C simplified is human to human, but that is not how those concepts are framed, taught, or learned.
This is not an original idea; there has been talk about this for some time [INSERT HUBSPOT ARTICLE]. The article touches on the fact that despite being connected to tech more than ever, we are not robots, and neither are the companies we interact with. The movement to H2H marketing reminds me of large seminar classes vs. small classes. I always felt that I got much more out of the small classes because the teacher could connect with me. In a large format, that is a bit harder to do. The same applies to brands. It’s about creating a connection with your consumer that goes beyond numbers on the balance sheet.
H2H starts with personalization. In 2021 we are all familiar with personalized emails, and even personalized ads. Unfortunately, I think that has become table stakes, and people don’t even consider it anymore. It helps move the needle, but I believe there are better ways to be human to human.
Beyond knowing another person’s name, what do you do with them? Humans have conversations. We’re a social species, and connection with other humans is built with conversations. Brands and companies can have conversations with consumers too. Brands and companies who vomit content without intent and, in a way, shout at their consumers will find they won’t get very far—having a conversation with your consumers that will get you very far. I’m going to use a personal experience here.
As a huge Philadelphia Flyers fan, I am always looking for new gear to sport my orange and black. The team happened to wear custom Nike Air Jordans on a preseason special (seen below), and I wanted a pair.
Unfortunately, the Nike site doesn’t list sizes smaller than 11 (I’m a 10). So I tweeted at Nike.
Within an hour, the brand had responded to my tweet.
I felt amazing after that interaction. Nike cared about what I wanted and gave me an option to get it. While this is a minimal example, I think it perfectly illustrates how to reach out to customers and not only make them feel good, but give them what they want.
Fun and Humor
We touch on this a lot in class. Ryan Reynolds and the Maximum Effort team are masters at using fun and humor in their messaging to connect with consumers. Having fun with your consumers shows that your are not just a faceless corporation. Joy is an emotion and trait, both of which are human characteristics; vis a vi, having fun with your messaging makes you appear more human. Having fun, using humor and emotions, allows a brand to create a more compelling story that consumers can connect with.
Ultimately I think we will see more content on H2H marketing, I think we will start teaching this way in university; just remember, you heard it here first……but not really 🙂
Brenner, Michael. “How to Use Empathy in Your B2B Brand Storytelling.” MarketingProfs, 14 July 2020, www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2020/43172/how-to-use-empathy-in-your-b2b-brand-storytelling. Accessed 11 Mar. 2021.
Feifer, Jason. “How Ryan Reynolds’ Marketing Agency Keeps Making Viral Hits.” Entrepreneur, 9 Mar. 2021, www.entrepreneur.com/article/366109. Accessed 10 Mar. 2021.
Gade, Erin. “On Social Media, a Little Brand Personality Goes a Long Way.” MarketingProfs, 4 Sept. 2019, www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2019/41759/on-social-media-a-little-brand-personality-goes-a-long-way. Accessed 11 Mar. 2021.
Martin, Daniel. “6 Digital Marketing Skills to Master in 2020.” Daniel Martin, 22 Mar. 2020, danieljmartin.com/blog/6-digital-marketing-skills-to-master-in-2020/. Accessed 11 Mar. 2021.
McKinsey. “Most Appealing Types of Content Personalization among Internet Users in The United States as of March 2019.” Statista, Statista Inc., 1 Apr 2019, https://www-statista-com.libproxy.temple.edu/statistics/1209646/appealing-types-content-personalization-us/
Reimherr, David. “How to Make H2H (Human to Human) Marketing Work for You — Magnificent Interview W/Expert Bryan….” Medium, 19 Feb. 2018, medium.com/swlh/how-to-make-h2h-human-to-human-marketing-work-for-you-magnificent-interview-w-expert-bryan-5a3ef193e0b6. Accessed 11 Mar. 2021.
Rothman, Bonnie. “Seven Ways to Show up Human in Your PR and Marketing Efforts.” MarketingProfs, 16 Dec. 2020, www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2020/44041/seven-ways-to-show-up-human-in-your-pr-and-marketing-efforts.
Vajre, Sangram. “Why 2018 Will Be the Year of Human-To-Human Marketing (H2H).” Inc.com, 17 Jan. 2018, www.inc.com/sangram-vajre/why-2018-will-be-year-of-human-to-human-marketing-h2h.html. Accessed 11 Mar. 2021.