Traditionally, B2B (business-to-business) marketing has relied on product functionality and corporate reputation—rather than personal connection—to secure sales and sustain growth. But times have changed. Today’s customers want to feel like they’re getting to know the real people behind your business as they look to enter a strategic partnership, rather than being another link in the supply chain.  

As B2B marketers, you must remember that buyers are people, too, and they’re not always focused purely on the numbers. They want to have conversations, share ideas, and solve problems in collaboration with you. In fact, they’ve come to expect it.

The modern brand has become more collaborative – and social. Take LinkedIn, for example. What started as a website with little more than digital resumes has grown into a thriving social media platform. People use it to start conversations and share their opinions – and sometimes even personal experiences – with their professional network.

To attract customers, B2B communications need to embody this collaborative, conversational, and human-centered approach.

Cut the corporate talk

Business-to-consumer (B2C) brands have long understood the power of getting real with their audience. They’re a step ahead when it comes to engaging through social media, experiential marketing, and thoughtful partnerships (influencers included). But it’s arguably more important for B2B brands to get this right, as the stakes are much higher.

Business customers can’t afford to be fickle. It’s much harder for a company to change direction in the way an individual consumer can change their mind; procurement costs are higher, and approvals take time. Your B2B brand has to work a lot harder – and feel authentic – to get decision-makers to take notice of your organization.

But how does a B2B brand go about this?

Shaping conversations

The foundation of any good relationship is mutual attraction and understanding. Once your business has identified a prospect, you need to demonstrate that you’re relationship partner material. Fusty corporate lingo won’t fly, and stuffy enterprise aesthetics don’t make a strong first impression. 

While language helps to communicate your tone of voice, it’s only one part of the user experience. As Don Norman, a designer dubbed the Godfather of UX, said “everything has a personality: everything sends an emotional signal. Even where this was not the intention of the designer...” 

All elements of design and messaging work together to create the user experience. Getting this right will impact what your audience tells you – and ultimately, how strong your leads are.

Beautiful, authentic experiences

It can be tempting to focus solely on the aesthetics of your user experience. But authenticity must come first – people need to feel like they can trust you, your brand, and your product or service. 

When designing your user experience – in the product and/or website – you must always create with your audience in mind. B2B audiences are looking for a frictionless experience that feels intuitive, considered, and human-centered. This will send positive signals to your audience, and drive trust and confidence in what your brand is promising.

Authentic user experiences and human conversations with your brand will make users feel included and valued from the very first exchange. And if your audience enjoys the experience of talking to you for the first time, it’s likely that they will want to talk to you again.

How you ask is everything.

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