2 Critical B2B Marketing Trends Adding Humanity To Sales


Reading Time: 10 minutes

Beyond all the hype about what marketing channels are dying or living is the need marketers have to connect with real human buyers. Marketing is not about digital-whatever, but real human connection. We’ll be explore emerging B2B marketing trends that are slated to add humanity back to our marketing and sales  pursuits.

Let’s talk about it:

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Video Social Selling

 

As Matt Bowman,  a Forbes’ Council Member notes in his Forbes’ story “Video Marketing: The Future of Content Marketing,” video has proven its ability to convert visitors into leads and leads into buyers, finding

 

“Adding a video to marketing emails can boost click-through rates by 200-300%.”

 

“Embedding videos in landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80%.”

 

“90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions.”

 

And while it’s been common to acknowledge the power of video in these more tried or typical places, video is just now gathering attention in the B2B sales space.

 

Implied consent is the greatest benefit of 1:1 personalized video 

 

One of the most practical ways to make use of personalized 1:1 video is through B2B social selling done via LinkedIn messaging. And one of the biggest revelations of this video-powered messaging is the ability to introduce implied consent. 

 

Similar to how behavioral targeting allows marketers and sales professionals to engage with leads only when they have shown a certain interest, with personalized video tools such as those available at loom.com, you can receive notifications when a lead engages with your video. 

 

Straying from the traditional Spray-N-Pray model, you can follow-up only with those leads who have engaged your video.This signals implied consent to continue the conversation. 

Don’t believe the hype about the death of video

If you believe a recent report on LinkedIn’s algorithm, users are less interested in video, engaging with it less in their feeds. Malarkey!

 

Regardless of the ‘religious’ marketing sect you’re a part of, someone somewhere on the internet is screaming about how it’s dying.

 

Supposedly, social media is dying. Advertising is dying. Content marketing is dying. Video is dying. Email is dying. Texting is dying. I have read it all–and sometimes I have believed it.

 

I don’t think all this doom saying has anything to do with marketers’ inability to read data correctly. It’s just that we’re bored, tired, and kinda pissed. Common marketing knowledge tells us that no tactic works forever. And when it does–it’s almost worse–because then we are joined on all sides by a bunch of me-too marketing amateurs who turn to rote spam out of a lack of creativity.

 

Making the pessimism worse is the fact that marketing channels included in the path to purchase have tripled in the last two decades .  

 

But that is where the truth lies, marketers are not seeing blockbuster numbers from individual channels because that isn’t how the game is today. The game has changed, multichannel marketing is a must for today’s marketer and sales professional.

 

Conversational Marketing

That’s why the most exciting development I see on the horizon is conversational marketing. Driven by the use of large data stores and chatbots, conversational marketing is exactly what it sounds like, talking with people and treating them like people.

 

The B2B sales community has taken notice of this trend, as made evident by the rapid growth of conversational marketing platform Drift that launched just a few years ago with $15 million in initial funding, before the company had a product. 

 

That initial investment, according to the Drift marketing team’s book, “This Won’t Scale: 41 Plays From The Drift Marketing Team To Help Your Business Cut Through The Noise, Grow Faster Than The Competition and Thrill Your Customers,” became $32 million in funding just a little over a year after launch.

 

And more recently, the competitive hyper-personalized marketing platform Folloze has raised $11 million in initial funding, with its CEO Etai Beck noting, 

 

“The B2B buying process has changed dramatically in recent years, from the traditional funnel-based perspective to a customer-led, real-time journey and high-value experience.”

Why This Is Happening: The Growing Trend Of Annoyance

The other day, I was reminded of the rom-com “You’ve Got Mail.” From what I know of the movie (I’ve never seen or at least I don’t remember ever seeing it), the whole thing hinges upon intimate electronic love letters. What a quaint way to think about email!

 

How do you feel about your email inbox now? Are you feeling the love?

 

I know that when I sit in front of my inbox on any given weekday, I want a strong coffee with cream at my right. Before clicking over to my Gmail account, I take and release a shallow breath, in full preparation of a lame experience.

 

I know most emails will feel as though they have nothing to do with me despite mentioning my name in every subject line:

 

  • [Ebook for Jean-Marc] 5 Advertising Strategies For SMBs
  • [You’re Invited, Jean-Marc] Learn How To Unlock The Power of Video
  • [Blog for Jean-Marc] The Secret Sauce Of Demand Generation
  • Jeanmarc – looking for a fast way to fund your next move?

 

In contrast to a rom-com, any intimate feeling I might get from email is that of anger or confusion from people upset at me for one reason or another. 

 

And I know the marketing people crafting promotional emails are doing the best they can to make this information seem relevant to me and by looking at the subject lines, I can see they read the same research about brackets increasing open rates I’ve read.

 

However, it doesn’t make these emails seem any less lame. The problem is: we are drowning in mediocre messaging. Sometimes it gets so bad, I miss critical emails because of the slush filling my inbox.

 

That’s just one channel.

Marketing has made communication suck

 

The annoyances of modern communication were born out of large organizations trying to be personable and scalable en masse:

 

  • Robo-callers
  • Mass email blasts
  • Direct mailers

 

Yet neither leave any of us feeling as though we have been seen as an actual person with value that can’t be rounded to the nearest dollar figure.

 

You’ve experienced this in  your own life, when you feel the dread of staring at an unknown number on your smartphone. A medium that once allowed for intimate, hilarious, and soul-opening communication has now become another ‘email inbox’ full of slush. Your voicemails, you know, will be mostly made up of prerecorded robotic messages.

This is a shame–because human-to-human communication rocks, it literally teaches us the ability to talk, helps us to understand the world, history, hate, love, the people around us, as well as ourselves. 

 

Double-shame — the fact is that we live in a time where, regardless of the multitude of ways that allow us to connect, we are often feeling more alone.

 

According to a recent study on Snake People from international research data and analytics group YouGov,

 

We were the group (currently aged 23-38) most likely to report feeling lonely “often” or “always.”

We were also more likely to report having “no friends (22%), no close friends (27%), and no best friends (30%).”

 

How come we are so glum? While the analytics group did not determine the exact causes for perceived loneliness, they suggest greater social media and internet usage as possible reasons based on past research. 

 

And much of the internet runs on marketing and advertising. Search engines feed us lovely textual ads we enjoy ignoring while social media tries to increase ad consumption by stuffing it into news feeds like a well-meaning mother might stuff vegetables in a meatloaf.

 

A Trend We Should Start: People First

I have a few ideas, listed in manifesto-esque format:

 

We repeatedly affirm the value of humanity and genuine connection where we can.

We support the businesses and brands that use data responsibly, in order to improve our user experiences.

We mark as “spam” in our emails all that feels like spam.

We ignore attempts of mass marketing engines to steal our attention and productivity.

We do our own thinking as marketers. Marketers, like any professional group, can easily fall into the norms of our trade. We choose differently.

We focus on the one thing in marketing that will remain when all the tools, software, and hacks fade away: connecting with people.

We will inject humanity into our sales and marketing whenever possible.

We will remember we are people first, marketers second.

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