FAIL: How I missed years of B2B marketing experience [WORDS]

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As recently as seven months ago, this was a conversation that I believed to be accurate:

“But you don’t have any B2B experience, Christoph?” – a number of executives I’ve talked to about projects, collaborations, etc. would ask and state at the same time.

“Sure, but it’s not about B2B or B2C. It’s about H2H,” was my smart answer. Ha!

To get some of you out of acronym hell:

B2B – Business to Business

B2C – Business to Consumer

H2H – Human to Human

Also: P2P – Person to Person

Related: How companies get human to human marketing wrong

Of course, the answer isn’t wrong. B2B or B2C the bottom line is that the target audience is indeed a human. A person will be making the decision to buy or not to buy. Maybe algorithms already weed out certain RFPs (request for proposals) based on keywords as is already the case for job applicants. Some “advanced” application systems filter candidates by keywords. Pick the wrong ones in your application and you might get filtered out.

That “H2H is what matters” answer seemed to satisfy many I’ve shared that with over the years. Maybe it made so much sense because it’s true. Or it was just enough of a new perspective and spin on existing methodology to show that it’s about the strategies and not the exact words. Either way. I didn’t give myself enough credit. Not because I’m too humble. Ha! I just didn’t think it through.

This is a new development for me here: I have all kinds of B2B experience and did before starting my current digital transformation/business evolution/content strategy gig at Stamats Business Media which competes in the B2B publishing space.

The reality of things is that I’ve had at least 5 years of B2B marketing experience – even if I didn’t know it. This blog’s target audience and really only buyers are businesses. Not many people (i.e.: consumers) go around and look for social media, storytelling or content marketing strategy, which is what I usually write about on here.

There are many personal stories, sure, but they usually tie back to something business related. Even my travel diaries stories usually have some kind of business-related angle.

When I look at the revenue streams over the years that the blog has had, they are usually business related:

  • Conferences hiring me to speak
  • Companies who want a workshop
  • Businesses who hire me to complete a specific project
  • Etc.

Even when people buy my book, I’m guessing it’s mostly for business purposes – as that’s what the book is about.

One reason also might have been that I basically removed mention of my blog from my resume and LinkedIn profile. It seemed to confuse people that I had a blog listed.

Of course, the line between B2B and B2C is becoming more and more blurry with the web – especially. For example, when I attend and cover Adobe Summits on Adobe’s dime who is their audience? Businesses or consumers?

As many times in digital marketing, the answer is: “It depends.” And it’s both. Consumers might buy their products, though, realistically, many Adobe products are business products. But there’s crossover. So all my Adobe posts are tagged as sponsored (which is required by the Federal Trade Commission in the United States and indicates a paid agreement of some kind).

Other times, I prioritized my digital agency work as experience.

“Do you have B2B experience?”

“Most of my clients do B2C.”

That also is true, but to get those clients to do B2C marketing for I implemented B2B strategies.

A lead comes in through Twitter to work with a company, that’s B2B. A request for proposal comes from a blog post. That’s also B2B. Somebody approaches me at a conference after a keynote to work with their company on a project. B2B. Oy. Glad I got myself set straight here. Thanks for letting me talking it through with you. 🙂

Likely, there’s a good amount of truth to that it’s all just about connecting to other humans, building the authority around the topic the buyer has a problem with and then being top of mind whenever they are ready to buy whatever it is you are selling.

Partially, I probably missed it because the initial intent of the blog wasn’t a lead generation tool in 2013. I just wanted to share stories and go from there. I moved sites a few times in the years before and after Eastern Iowa News folded in 2009 and even had separate sites for different topics. At some point that became too much work. I wanted to focus on storytelling for organizations and with that this site was born. (I could have probably just avoided the switcheroos by going with ChristophTrappe.com which I might still do down the road here. It’s easy enough to move things over there with the help of my awesome developer.

It’s about perspective and sometimes we miss things. It happens.

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