Is H2H marketing a reward rather than an assumption?

This bothers me:

H2H Marketing

You’ve probably seen the above graphic circulating around Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter. You’ve probably then witnessed a lengthy chain of contacts who are gung-ho in advocating that there is, indeed, only one way to run your business – and that’s H2H (Human-to-Human).

If you have had a little time on your hands you’ve probably then clicked on some of the individuals sharing the link to read a bio including ‘I’ve helped businesses to …..’

Back to my point. H2H does exist. It has to. However, B2B and B2C are just as prevalent and necessary as they ever have been. Allow me to explain.

Mind the eggs

Online grocery ordering exists for a reason. We’re busy individuals and we can easily justify the small delivery charge levied on the time we save trawling the aisles of the supermarket. I swear self-checkouts were installed to further justify our reasoning.

We use Ocado. We’ve probably used them for 3 years now. We’d greeted Tesco & Sainsbury deliveries for the preceding 4 or so years. Why have we stuck with Ocado? Because the delivery is made by drivers that care. I’m greeted with a smile. I receive an explanation if the delivery is slightly delayed (usually a call is made in advance). My bags are handed across to me one by one. I’m informed when a bag includes the eggs. I’m asked to ‘Mind the Eggs’. Sometimes we share a chuckle when we see the irony behind one of the bags holding nappies and wine. That’s H2H.

Human interaction outweighs price

For me, the above heading is true. Maybe I’m fortunate. Prior to Ocado, my deliveries were made by Tesco or Sainsbury. Now, they’re made by Barney in the Green Avocado van. That’s H2H.

Maybe I could be saving £5, £10 a week on my food bill by switching back, I don’t know. Maybe I’m actually savings myself £5 by staying with Ocado. It’s partly irrelevant now that I’m locked into H2H Marketing.

Here’s my problem…

H2H Marketing doesn’t exist without the relationship being borne out of traditional B2B or B2C marketing. Firstly, it’s key to demonstrate which segment of your industry you’re looking to attract – the business, or the consumer. Don’t pretend to be my friend if you can’t help me.

Yes, take the human approach and open your doors to your audience. Just be wary of your expectation that I’m ready to do exactly the same.

We humans are naturally skeptical. We’re naturally cautious. We’re naturally guarded. Online, as well as offline. Throw me into a conversation and I want to know who’s listening. Who I’m talking to. Just like a first date, let’s get to know each other first. Let me learn to trust you. Then we can explore some H2H.

H2H should be your goal, not your starting point

Should H2H exist? Absolutely. It’s how we’ve learned to exist. How we engage. Certainly reach out the hand of your business to introduce me, but don’t pretend we’ve been friends for years. You don’t truly understand my motive. Yet.

My marketing mantra is Context. Conversation. Conversion. Don’t jump into conversation if you’re not aware of the context. Don’t loosen your tie and kick off your shoes until I’m happy to sit down and chat. H2H is conversation. Listen before you begin talking. That’s old-fashioned marketing. That’s your B2B and B2C.

Human-to-Human relationships are a reward for your business. The consumer may set out to seek human-to-human response, but let your skills as a marketer treat that relationship as a goal, not a given.

Maybe Bryan Kramer’s statement is shared outside of context? His ebook  There Is No B2B or B2C: It’s H2H certainly demonstrates the true meaning of H2H. It’s a brilliant read.

Written By:

Ian Rhodes


Founder of Ecommerce Growth Co. Helping you grow sales making more effective use of data, technology & the human touch. Get my HOW TO OPTIMISE lessons to your inbox below...