We’re all aware of the 4 Ps as it was solidly instilled in our minds after marketing 101. And while they are still an integral part of any marketing plan, I wonder if we are consciously forgetting about the 5th P in the marketing mix that’s probably more important than any of the 4 Ps.
People. Where do the people fit in your B2B marketing plan? Despite the fact that we can (and should) use some incredible automation tools today to enhance our marketing effectiveness, these tools only take the personalization as far as addressing the recipient by first name.
And that’s not enough in today’s competitive environment. Even for B2B, the people factor still has to be addressed. At the end of the day, it’s people who make the buying decision–not some software program.
There’s no question that inbound marketing–using valuable and educational content to pull prospects in–is useful and actually works. And inbound marketing continues to add value to the nurturing process–where you’re continuing to build know, like, and trust, but I think we can solidly say that no one’s ever going to write you a check just because you sent them the same email you sent to a thousand others. The buying decision is made off-line and that’s where the people factor is critical to the process.
So the lesson here is to think about where you can add a few elements of personalization to your marketing efforts. That’s what will actually help you further the business relationship. Not only does it help to bring you closer to closing the deal, it’s also what will actually help you stand out from the competition.
Think about what relationships with your customers look like. Think about your relationship with those you like to do business with. What keeps you coming back? What does the buying cycle look like and how do you make that into a client experience people will talk about?
Technology is important, yes. But the behavior of our customers is changing. It’s time to think about what a client experience is and what it should be, and how we should measure it.