A human-to-human (H2H) marketing strategy can help you connect with consumers’ values and create campaigns that cut through the crowd.
All marketing professionals strive to create strategies and build campaigns that help foster authentic connections with their audience. But, as consumers become ever savvier, creating content that supports that goal becomes increasingly difficult.
You can overcome customers’ increasing aversion to marketing and advertising by promoting human-to-human (H2H) strategies that improve the buyer journey and help you cultivate more loyal, brand-aware customers. Creating an H2H marketing strategy is easier than you might think. It just requires a shift in mindset and slight tweaks to your existing campaigns.
Basics of Human-to-Human (H2H) Marketing
Defining Human-to-Human Marketing
H2H marketing is all about building trust between your business and your customers. This approach is built entirely on one of the most important business philosophies: respecting your customer. You need to understand that they’re more than a data point to track. It promotes conversation via feedback and requires you to avoid hard-selling in favor of building rapport and a strong brand image.
At first, H2H marketing might sound a little Machiavellian, but it isn’t meant to deceive or trick customers. Marketers who are well positioned to use H2H marketing genuinely believe in the product or service they’re promoting. This allows them to focus more on informing the customer about that product or service, rather than selling. This kind of soft-sell approach is particularly popular now, as consumers are jaded from international crises and mistrust profit-oriented corporations.
Many large corporations utilize social media to promote H2H marketing.
A quick scroll through Nike’s tweets and replies shows that they regularly engage with their consumers to cheer them on and support them in achieving their fitness goals. This helps lead to greater brand loyalty, as consumers feel supported by the brand they choose to purchase from.
All businesses can utilize an H2H marketing approach. Whether you’re selling timber to construction companies or espressos to millennials, an H2H marketing strategy ensures that customers choose you over competitors who don’t have the same approach.
Human-to-Human B2B Marketing
Business-to-business (B2B) marketing has a reputation for being hard-nosed and all about business. However, that paradigm has shifted in the last few years as businesses seek to fulfill their corporate social responsibilities. As a supplier of a B2B product or service, it’s crucial to understand the minds of your consumers. This will allow you to take full advantage of H2H marketing and ensure that your buyers feel respected and valued in your messaging.
When devising a B2B marketing strategy, always consider your unique advantages over the competition. For example, if you benefit from an economy of scale that your competitors don’t, you can use this to provide freebies and giveaways. This gives your audience a chance to trial run your product and return to you with feedback.
You can create a relationship with B2B customers by tailoring your video content to suit B2B viewers. When creating video content for B2B marketing, focus on giving your customer something of value. Most B2B buyers will glaze over during a hard sell but will have their interest piqued if you can give them a unique insight or provide instructional information.
When B2B buyers return with feedback, you must listen and adapt. While some feedback can be authentically helpful, many business buyers want to see that they will be heard and respected when dealing with your company. You can build rapport and stronger engagement by focusing on the human element when handling potential customers.
Case Study: Adobe
Adobe provides a fantastic example of value-adding H2H content based on feedback. The Adobe suite is notoriously hard to learn, which may put some would-be buyers off. However, as the market leader in the graphic design industry, Adobe can use the reach of its content to help potential consumers understand its product.
For example, Adobe recently released a video about editing photos while you’re on the go. The video is geared toward busy professionals who want to edit their material quickly and get on with their day.
The video features graphic designers who use Adobe’s Lightroom to edit and produce content and includes step-by-step instructions. This kind of content creates a genuine H2H feel, as potential consumers can see other graphic designers utilize the app while engaging in an informal, down-to-earth way.
Human-to-Human B2C Marketing
There is no longer a great divide between B2B and business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing. However, B2C marketing still relies a little more on consumer analytics to drive the direction of your campaign, as B2C companies tend to have more consumers buying based on their personal needs and values.
You can improve your buyer journey and H2H presence by conducting market research and using analytics to gain data about your target market. There are many kinds of data that you can collect and analyze, but most businesses can benefit from tracking analytics related to customer satisfaction, sales channels, and different customer segments.
Treating your consumer as a data point flies in the face of H2H marketing. However, you still need objective data to spot behavior patterns, consumer values, and potential improvements. This will help you provide the best possible experience to both current and prospective customers.
At the moment, cherishing diversity and promoting inclusion is a key trend in H2H marketing strategies. Almost every major B2C brand is working hard in response to greater consumer awareness about social justice issues.
Additional Reading: ‘Inclusive Marketing: 4 Strategies from Brands Doing it Right’
Case Study: Adidas
Adidas serves as a great example of how to incorporate B2C trends in H2H marketing efforts. They recently collaborated with Stonewall UK — a human rights organization in the UK that advances the well-being of LGBTQIA+ individuals. Adidas hosted a conversation with Tom Daley and Liz Ward to promote the visibility of athletes who aren’t cisgender and heterosexual.
Adidas’ investment into LGBTQIA+ issues allows them to align with consumers who hold similar values. By platforming Tom Daley in conversation with Liz Ward, they also create a distinctly human feel that helps promote H2H engagement.
Conversations about inclusion and equity are important for achieving progress in society.
Improve Your Consumer's Buyer Journeys with H2H Marketing
Human-to-human (H2H) marketing is a great way to improve your buyer journey and foster greater engagement. Running campaigns that “give” your audience something of value is far more likely to leave a good impression than a hard sell. Aligning with consumers’ values will also boost the reach and engagement of your next campaign, as people prefer to purchase from businesses that reflect their personal values.
Browse our directory of digital marketing agencies.