B2B is so 1999

brick wallI remember the first time I heard the term “B2B” – I was a senior in college. Any company that made the slightest reference to it was being touted as the next big thing. Looking back on it, I didn’t really get what all the fuss was about and before I had time to stop and think about it, the millennium came and went. Now here we are, 10 years later and I still hear people referring to it like there’s some mystifying secret to it.

Let me shed some light on the matter…

There is no esoteric meaning behind the term because there is no “B2B”. B2B IS DEAD! PEOPLE (not businesses) buy from other PEOPLE (not businesses). And while I don’t think anyone would openly dispute that, there are still those trying to market to businesses!!!

If you were a sales person, you might start with a business target in mind, but you don’t just walk up to the entrance and talk to the bricks on the building wall?  So why as marketers would we target businesses?!?!

Don’t get me wrong, to engage in a conversation we need to start at the business level, but we also have to go deeper. There’s the question of who is the decision maker (VITO) that will ultimately decide whether or not to conduct business with you. And then there are your key influencers, who, being among VITO’s most trusted advisers might be someone who could influence on our behalf. This might be a person within the organization or it might be a particular external thought leader, but either way it’s about a person.

It’s about touching individuals – which means talking to them as individuals, NOT as businesses. Everyone has their own motivations, and just because something is good for the “business” doesn’t necessarily make it good for the individual.

So don’t be a B2B marketer. Be a “people” marketer and always keep in mind what’s in it for them!

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