Businesses continue to look for new and innovative ways to reach and engage with their target demographics to convert them into lifelong customers.
This can be tricky to do digitally due to the contextual intricacies that are communicated in every sentence. Some messages can be taken out of context and seen as “too corporate” which doesn’t speak to the average consumer.
Thankfully for marketers there are a myriad of different marketing business models to choose from that you can incorporate into your company’s digital marketing directives. Most of us might be aware of the more common staples: Business-to-Business (B2B), Business-to-Customer (B2C); but few may know of a new disruptive style of digital communication called Human-to-Human (H2H). Follow along as we take you through a comprehensive overview of H2H and how it differs from B2C and B2B on top of a thorough understanding of which industries and companies are using H2H successfully, and how companies can effectively integrate an H2H marketing mindset into their customer acquisition and retention strategies.
The Simple Yet Genuine Human to Human (H2H) Experience
Communication shouldn't be complicated. It should just be as genuine and simple as talking to your friend or loved one about something you share a mutual interest in. This is the basis of how human to human (H2H) marketing can help companies to create a compelling narrative that will help them make connections with people who can appreciate their story.
The key to H2H lies in the ability to craft a storyline around your campaign that makes people care about what you're selling. This will ensure your message will have a much stronger impact with those who your message has resonated with. H2H looks to create a sturdy bond between brand and customer through the creation of content that adds a human element to the brand. This helps the customer identify with the brand and come to realize that the company is made of real people who care about certain causes other than continuously pushing you to buy their products via traditional advertisements.
How Does H2H Differ From B2C and B2B?
Not every company fits into the mold of Business-to-Business (B2B) or Business-to-Customer (B2C) business models. Whereas B2B focuses on giving a full picture of the company’s products to various business stakeholders via identifying technical aspects that may be of benefit to their organization, B2C focuses on a different approach. With B2C, the focus is on selling products to consumers in a way that tells the story of how enjoyable the product will be for them once they purchase it.
Although most companies may fall into these business models, others aren’t focused on competing with big box retailers (B2C) or robust corporate services businesses (B2B) who are driven by massive quantities of sales to consumers and/or through their wholesale channels. Instead, these companies are focused on building their repertoire and engaging with customers directly on cause-focused campaigns via Human-to-Human (H2H) marketing. The difference is that these H2H campaigns are not focused on selling products or services like B2C or B2B. For H2H, it’s all about creating a community of trust and mutual understanding through the content.
As more companies begin to roll out omnichannel experiences that give consumers added convenience, there is an inherent expectation that consumers have on brands to be able to link their shopping experiences with their experiential needs. By bringing in elements of what consumers see and are inspired by in their everyday life, it adds a measure of relatability that helps them gravitate towards the brand over time.
Which Industries and Companies Are Best Suited For H2H?
What companies and industries are beginning to realize is that humans tell the best stories which is the key to good marketing. No company understands this sentiment better than Starbucks. The global coffee behemoth recently launched their first global brand campaign where they put their customers at the center of the story. Instead of focusing on the coffee or the company, Starbucks chose to chronice a day in the life of a cup of their signature coffee through a mini-documentary aimed to show beautiful moments of connection between their customers around the world. The multi-dimensional aspect of this type of campaign shows that anyone can enjoy Starbucks products.
Most companies are trying to use the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to help them in converting customers via the stories that they’re telling. This is because, as Alex Dorward, COO at Simple Story tells us, “some people just don’t like dealing with humans and AI is faster and typically returns better results due to lack of human error. However, others are feeling resistance to this change and miss the good old days of H2H due to a more personable approach, friendliness, and potential for stronger relationships.” While automation can help your company cut costs in the short-term and help to optimize your bottom line, AI doesn’t yet have the ability to make those deep, transparent connections that help customers understand the inner complexities of a company.
The Key To Success When It Comes To H2H Marketing
Unlike B2B or B2C where sales conversions are the primary measurement of success, H2H is focused on campaign engagement to ensure that the right people are matching your ideal customer profile. Maintaining a high level of customer empathy is a big part of H2H that can help companies produce more relevant products for their target demographics. As you begin to incorporate H2H philosophies into your market campaigns, you should focus on incorporating outreach efforts that encourage them to learn about something other than just their products.
The more you demonstrate that you are listening to your audience and understand their needs, the more connected they will be with your organization. You can win them by adding humor to your marketing and creating a unique personality that humans can relate to. Lastly, the key to maintaining a solid H2H business model is to own up to your mistakes. If you make a mistake, then own up to it. People will appreciate the authentic apology and you can use that to create a connection via a human response to the matter which will only help your outreach efforts in the future.