In the age of AI, machine learning, big data, and sophisticated automation, human-to-human marketing, or H2H, has emerged as an antidote. Recent times have been trying, to say the least, so where this new model succeeds where others previously failed is the primary focus is on nurturing human relationships and building trust.
H2H differs from B2C and B2B marketing methods. Rather than assessing audiences on data sets, it looks past these segments and focuses on building authentic connections with the people within them; after all, businesses comprise groups of real people.
Why does this matter, and aren’t most of us already doing it?
Well, yes and no, true authenticity comes from real conversations and honest relationships. So, while the individuals in a business might be strong advocates for rapport building, the brand they represent could be anything but, which isn’t exactly seamless in terms of a customer experience. Smart businesses put their people front and centre and speak to their customers with warmth, opening up an honest dialogue about their needs.
The pandemic has been something of an accelerator for H2H
You may have noticed an increase in H2H marketing on LinkedIn, we’ve certainly noticed a growing openness from brands, with many more businesses being honest about the challenges presented by lockdown and remote working, and of course, a welcome, wider conversation around mental health and employee wellbeing.
Brands that actively demonstrated their human-side during the pandemic hit the right note with customers. Pret a Manger offering NHS staff a free hot drink and 50% off other products, addressed what was going on in the world and inspired a sense of togetherness beyond a normal customer transaction. A Kantar survey of more than 35,000 consumers during the crisis revealed that 78% of consumers believed brands should help them in their daily lives, and 75% said brands should inform people of what they’re doing to help. This shows a growing expectation from brands to demonstrate their values and play their part in a compassionate and human way.
It’s also interesting two-thirds (64 percent) of consumers worldwide said that they would buy from a brand or boycott based solely on its position on a social or political issue. That’s not to say you should become an activist for issues you’re not passionate about; it’s simply demonstrating the power of alignment of beliefs and values.
Learn from the disruptors
Disruptor brands have always known the value of authenticity in marketing; speak to your customers like friends, encourage them to participate in your world and become invested in theirs. This is why some brands have enviable memorability, think Dove‘s long-running ‘Real Beauty’ campaign, it was designed for the people who actually buy the product and was based on creating a unique and relatable experience; changing the way beauty products were marked long before the Instagram and influencer marketing boom.
What do businesses need to do to embrace H2H?
Corporates need to think about the future and move from customer-centricity to human centricity not to miss the opportunity. It all starts with a conversation, so it’s important to encourage your organisation’s thought leaders to stick their head above the parapet and join the conversations that matter to your customers. If you’re not already doing it, think about how your culture and brand align. If you’re a fun and caring business behind a corporate façade, it’s time to step forward and change your image. Your customers will thank you for it.
If you’d like to talk more about developing your marketing strategy and developing your brand’s authenticity, get in touch today on 0345 241 3038.