Years before the term “business-to-business marketing” was even coined, President John F. Kennedy knew its secret.
“Consumers, by definition, include us all,” he said to Congress back in 1962.
Even today, in an age where technology turns just about everything instantly obsolete, the idea that we are all consumers endures — even for those of us consumers working in marketing who serve other consumers who also work in marketing. Or procurement. Or recruiting. Or some other facet of business.
Inside many marketing, advertising and design agencies, a tremendous amount of energy is spent studying target markets, competitive data, pricing models and overall consumer behavior. Commercial artists then use this valuable research and insight to fashion integrated campaigns that hopefully resonate enough to prompt some form of action from the consumer.
So again, if we are all consumers, why wouldn’t we employ the same practices when we’re trying to sway John Q. Public to buy widgets as when we’re trying to convince Jane Q. Public, chief buyer for Acme Manufacturing, to buy trinkets so she can build her cogs?
The obvious answer would be that we should. But for some odd reason, the minute we see or hear “B2B” the mentality shifts. Rigidity reigns. Language tightens. The human connection is removed and replaced like a cold, heartless robot on an assembly line.
Bryan Kramer, an author, social business strategist and CEO of a marketing firm himself, recently discussed this very subject in a article called There Is No More B2B or B2C: There Is Only Human to Human (H2H)1.
Kramer’s basic assumption is that we should communicate simply and genuinely, drawing upon the emotional nature of those multi-dimensional, immensely-complex organisms called human beings. Regardless if its for “B2B” or “B2C” reasons.
“Businesses do not have emotion. People do.
People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
People want to feel something.
People want to be included.
People want to understand.”
In other words, ditch the corporate buzzwords. Sure there are industry terms, and speaking the language shows mastery and authenticity, but corporate buzzwords don’t do anybody any good. In fact, if an agency is being evaluated by how well it can produce and execute creative ideas, wouldn’t choosing words, concepts and terminology that everyone is already tired of hearing show a fundamental lack of creativity?
In the end, we must “find the commonality in our humanity, and speak the language we’ve all been waiting for.”
At KCG, we couldn’t agree more.
Nick Gebhardt is associate creative director for KCG. His responsibilities include the management of the copywriting and proofreading team, as well as the overall generation of marketing and advertising concepts across media. He finds creative collaboration particularly rewarding, drawing on 13 years of experience as a copywriter in digital and traditional agencies across the Southeast. Outside of work, Nick plays bass guitar, writes short stories and chases his 2 1/2-year-old boy around his home in suburban Atlanta.