Silverpop occupies a unique position in the marketing landscape with our deep expertise in both email marketing and marketing automation. So, as a result, we work with a lot of digital marketers—from high-tech companies trying to help large sales forces be successful to retailers sending coupons to customers who abandon their virtual shopping carts.
A lot of people will point out how different these worlds can be. And the fact is, there are a lot of differences. But having a few years under my belt serving both kinds of marketers, I can tell you that their similarities far outweigh their differences. And even where they differ today in terms of techniques and approaches, I’ve found those differences to be artificial and unnecessary.
For example, most B2B marketing automation vendors offer scoring functionality. This is an awesome concept that, for the most part, doesn’t exist in the B2C world. Every retail marketer I’ve talked to about scoring thinks it’s an amazing idea, and they can’t wait to use it. And what about dynamic content? This is a staple in the B2C email marketing world that most B2B marketers still aren’t taking advantage of. So, is there something unique to B2B marketing that would make personalized content somehow useless? Of course not.
B2B and B2C marketing have grown up separately in their own silos, but there’s no reason for this to persist. Imagine what will happen when we remove these artificial silos. I’m here to tell you it’s all about to change—the barriers are about to come crashing down. There are some key truths that all marketers have in common—most notably, the need to remember that within their very different target audiences (consumers shopping for holiday gifts or IT departments looking to sign six-figure, five-year contracts) the actual decision maker for each is a human being with unique characteristics that should be marketed to as an individual.
Personally, I believe the worlds of B2C and B2B marketing have evolved so separately because most marketers have grown up thinking of their customers as big audiences. Each individual customer has been drowned out amidst giant campaigns built around what marketers want to say and when they want to say it. Maybe it’s our DNA as an industry. After all, we tend to use terms like Target, Segment, and Audience instead of Dialogue, Listen and Individual. Who can we blame? No one but ourselves.
So, here’s my suggestion. Let’s tear down the artificial barriers and educate marketers about the tools that will help them be most effective, most efficient and most successful by taking advantage of the best of what each type of marketing can offer. More importantly, let’s stop thinking about audiences and start thinking about individuals—the actual human beings we’re talking with. Let’s start looking beyond high-level reporting and start creating campaigns that allow us to dialogue with each and every customer one-at-a-time—on their terms and their timing. Maybe, just maybe, we can grow beyond audience-like thinking and embrace real 1:1 dialogues with our individual customers. Going forward, I’m going to call this Bto1. You heard it here first.