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For business-to-business marketing, technology doesn’t have all the answers

This article is an extract from Jon Hepburn’s new webinar ‘8 common-sense strategies to boost your business-to-business marketing’ kindly being hosted by Shropshire Chamber of Commerce.  In 2.5 minutes you’ll get a flavour of the subject matter covered in the 1-hour session.



There is now huge recognition in business-to-business marketing of the human element and the fundamental role our emotions play.

Face-to-face communication has, forgive the pun, virtually disappeared – due to you know what. Whilst technology has been brilliant in bridging the communication gaps it can’t replace it – particularly as so much of our communication is actually non-verbal.

Facial expressions can be seen online, but not body language and lots of other elements that help form those all-important first impressions.

The need for personalised, empathy-focused engagement and emotional connection has never been greater. I think we now crave it in our work life as much as our home life. In business this will be reflected in face-to-face meetings being offered and accepted – if the opportunity is asked for and felt worth it.

Emotion trumps logic every time – humans are not logical

Here are two examples

  • Whilst it is “socially acceptable” for us to drive around unintentionally injuring and unfortunately killing each other in road accidents, the idea of driverless or automated control of a vehicle is still too soon for most of us. In the UK, it is known that the vast majority of those accidents are caused by human error. As someone who teaches advanced motorcycle riding skills, I can vouch for large number of “SMIDYSY” (look it up) drivers.
  •  The technology for ‘not driving a car’ exists, the government is committed to it and a 2025 start is possible – but how ready are we as human road users? The same could be said for online conveyancing; how ready are we to trust to technology the most expensive thing we’ll ever buy – a property?

An awful lot has changed elsewhere in the last 15 months – is it time for these to happen?

What has already happened is that we can now buy a car whilst sat on a settee at home. We also have to sit down to order our drinks in a pub. Standing at the bar is a British quirk that doesn’t make sense – but again, humans are not logical. The conviviality of being in a pub has not yet been replicated online…

…So much being available online is all very well – but this may be a one-way street that ends in the Amazon – if you see what I mean. One example of this dilemma is for the retailer John Lewis – who, like all retailers, is under huge pressure. A great question was pondered in the Sunday Times recently – “How can they replicate the ‘warm magic’ of its in-store service on the big, cold Internet?” 

I know this is retail and not business to business marketing and too late for the stores John Lewis is closing but I like some of the ideas they have planned. This includes in store make-up tutorials, de-cluttering classes and ‘a wellness centre’ where customers can try out fitness products. All part of the physical brand experience.

Three ideas for your business-to-business marketing…

  • Conduct a fact-finding mission to understand what your customers would like from your organisation? Try aiming for some personal interaction, not just sending another email.  
  • Suggest a 15-minute Zoom or ‘phone call to customers and key prospects? You’re not trying to sell to them, the purpose of this is to gather feedback as part of a relaxed, natural conversation. you could seek their views on some topical ‘big picture’ subjects they might be interested in.
  • Having ready some ‘USP’s’ about your business. Think about things you could offer a customer that they might not get anywhere else, or may not have even thought about? 

This has worked well for one client I know off. It may work particularly well if there is a known concern within an industry sector such as a threat of new legislation where it can be useful to gather feedback from stakeholders. On example is the proposed de-regulation of housebuilding planning regs; it has huge significance and doubtless will polarise opinions.

To summarise – marketers who find ways to humanise their efforts and engage with their customers will stand out from the crowd.

Will that include your business?

Book your place on the webinar here https://www.shropshire-chamber.co.uk/events/business-to-business-marketing-techniques/

Alternatively, for a free, no-obligation 30-minute chat about marketing your business please get in touch.

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