I took my digital baby steps at a startup working with Digital PR. At that time my mentor coached us with views such as: “PR no longer stands for Public Relations, it stands for Presence Responsibility” and simultaneously we were coached in the sales mentality where at the end, people buy from people.Since that journey, I’ve had the privilege to work with many different companies across many different industries. I observed that a lot of people still have a very siloed approach to business. We commonly refer to this as B2B and B2C. However, with the work that I am presently doing and the space I find myself in, I believe these two labels primarily help to explain some dynamics of the marketplace or lifecycle. It does not describe how or what we should be communicating or striving towards.
Enter B2P – Business-to-people. This is step one in transforming the views towards your customers. You represent a business and you are dealing / selling / buying / negotiating / talking with people. This doesn’t necessarily permeate everything you do and sometimes, of course, there will be standard elements, however, I wholeheartedly believe that the minimum viable effort starts with considering your audience as people, not a consumer or a business.
Let me exemplify for a moment. Think about something good that’s gone viral. Then think of something good that’s gone viral but involved a company (doesn’t include crisis). I cannot recall a single instance where I cannot trace the viral component back to one of two feats: Either it was due to a moment where the viral element had a trace of personality/fun/humor in it, or it was because it was an exchange between the brand and someone – an exchange that was personal.
If we pull it up to a meta-perspective, my view is that people respond to people. We rejoice when we feel a sense of understanding and relation coming from the company – instead of it being just corporate messaging.
Some time ago, B2P was technologically not feasible. You could not scale to accommodate that view. It took too long to get stuff produced, get the message out there etc.But these days, with the Marketing Technology that is available to you – the “price” for relevance starts with the B2P perspective. The technology at our hand obligates us to deal with people – not just businesses or consumers.
It might start with “Hi Kenneth” in a newsletter, but you need to continue working to improve behind the scenes. Surface more relevance. Give me ways to connect with you. Make me feel appreciated. Make our interactions feel personal.
In the future, when robots and chat-bots and AI become ever more present, we might see the rise of a whole new acronym – H2H, Human-2-Human – but for the time being, the technology at our hands at the bare minimum obligates us to be people oriented.