B2B marketing is about building credibility and trust. Whether you should focus on building credibility in your people or your products depends on the uncertainty that a buyer will experience.
- Greater uncertainty around your product makes personal credibility more important
- Recognise that people will always be trusted more than a product, or a brand
- Using videos is a great way to build a personal relationship with your clients
When you’re marketing in B2B, there is always the question of how much focus you should put on your people versus on your product. There are three things you really need to think about here when you’re weighing up whether to focus more on the people in your business or the product in your business. Those three things are credibility, trust and interest.
I’m going to jump through them in turn.
How uncertain is your product?
Credibility comes down to the uncertainty of what someone is buying when they commit to buy a product from you. If you’re a criminal lawyer, for example, there’s really quite a lot of uncertainty in what someone is getting right up until the stage when you’ve delivered. It is really hard to judge the quality of that that specific product, up front.
Whereas if you’re selling at the other end of the spectrum – a product that’s really well defined with features and third party credibility. Say a car or a photocopier, there is perhaps a smaller role for the people in that business because the credibility is coming from other sources. The more uncertainty around the product that you’re selling, the bigger the role of personal credibility; What you need to bring forward with the people in your business and their back story, as opposed to having a really well defined product that’s got third party sources of credibility that you’re taking to market.
People trust people (not brands)
The second piece here is around trust because at the end of the day, people trust people. They don’t trust brands. They don’t trust products. People want to buy from people. Every environment that sales happen starts with a person speaking like another person. If your sales environment or your marketing environments remove all of the implication that there’s another person on the other end of the sale for that person to trust, you’re probably heading a bit too far towards the product end of the spectrum rather than the people in your business that people will buy from.
Don’t be boring
The third one is around interest because as marketers we’re about getting people interested and getting people ready to remember us, to call us up and buy when the time is right. We’re in the game of attention. People are interested in other people. If you pick up one of your local newspapers and read it, you’ll see that in almost every story, the same with the 6pm news, there’ll be a mention of how that issue affects one or multiple specific people.
The implication here from a B2B marketing perspective is that if you don’t take the time and effort to bring people forward in the way that you’re marketing, whether they be people from your business, people from other businesses, people from clients, people from case studies – your content will be perceived as boring and forgettable. Another way to do this is use video to put people front and centre in everything that you’re doing – creates the potential for people to build a personal relationship through the screen.
So three things to consider when you’re thinking about whether to focus more on people or product, there’s always a balance; But focus on credibility, focus on trust, focus on interest.