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Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2022-02-23

As marketers, many of us have learned the value of focusing on quality over quantity with our outreach. Yet, even when audiences are narrowed to reach the best prospective customers, oftentimes marketing efforts are still broad and unfocused. Especially with B2B marketing, messages are often aimed at the business instead of the actual person at the business. 


And that’s why the market is moving to a B2P (business-to-person or business-to-professional) approach to audience building. Greater customer-centricity and personalization are on the rise. Human-centered approaches designed for the person, not the business as a whole, are resonating with audiences. Here are a few of the reasons behind this shift:


Your buyer is a person.

It may be a company’s name on the account, but a company can’t research, analyze data, or decide to choose your solution. That’s why B2P marketing—viewing your target audience as the individual people they are with various backgrounds, schedules, personalities, interests, preferences, etc.—is so important. 


Most purchase decisions are made by buying groups, not a sole person.

Forrester’s reports have also pointed to the rise of group decision-making in the B2B market. A recent study showed 94% of respondents said they sell to groups of three or more individuals and 38% sell to groups of 10 or more. Your buyer is not a company and, more likely than not, it’s not a single person but rather a group of people. A one-size-fits-all approach simply doesn’t fit.


The line between business and personal is blurred.

With more people working from home, on their personal devices, and at all hours of the day, the line between business and personal is blurred—and for some, there is no line. A person may have a nine to five business schedule, but they’re still checking emails late into the night, whether on their personal or business device.


B2P marketing involves merging individuals’ business personas with their personal interests and attributes to create a holistic view when audience building. It’s a change that is better for marketers and buyers. Our team at OMI recommends these five steps to consider when making the shift.


  1. Get to know your audience

Who is your target audience? This can include the individual buyer—or group of buyers—from a company, but it can also include the end user who may not have final decision-making ability but is involved in the process. For example, entry-level workers, many of whom may be Gen Z, can have significant influence even if they don’t hold ultimate decision-making power.


  1. Match business and personal data

If you’re only targeting buyers on their business accounts and devices, you’re missing out on the other half -- and vice versa. Third-party data can fill in the missing pieces and match a contact’s personal records to their professional records for a more complete profile so you can reach them anytime and anywhere. It also gives you greater insight into understanding them as a whole person—both the personal and professional sides.


  1. Leverage people-based identity solutions

People-based identity solutions are gaining traction for their ability to connect online and offline data while maintaining consumer privacy and transparency. Identity graphs are a key component of people-focused platforms, pulling data from multiple sources, some that have profiles in the hundreds of millions. They include multiple identifiers per person, such as name, address, email address, phone numbers and devices, to enable a full picture of the prospect.


  1. Solve the pain points that matter.

What are the ultimate benefits for the individual? The potential cost savings of a product may be the winning point for an executive looking to stay under budget, but it may not be a critical benefit for the end user. That person may be much more interested in hearing how the solution will simplify workflows or other benefits that make daily work more manageable and less stressful. Messages should be designed to understand the pain points of the individual.


  1. Extend the human-centered approach.

Marketing content doesn’t need to be ultra-formal and all business. This is especially true when your audience, the real person on the receiving end, is a millennial or Gen Z. When targeting these professionals it’s important to:

  • Communicate authentically. Both Gen Z and Millennials are known for valuing honesty and having an eye for spotting inauthentic messages. In particular, Gen Z prefers frank, open communication and will speak up and speak out when words ring hollow.


  • Avoid corporate-speak. Younger generations are more likely to be turned off by overly promotional marketing or aggressive sales tactics. They also tend to engage much later in the buying process than older generations, with buyers conducting more independent research across multiple sources.


Buyers today expect you to know who they are and receive marketing content that makes sense to who they are personally. Targeting buyers on a B2P level makes it easier to engage with them based on their specific needs and interests—and convert them to customers. Have you made the shift to B2P with your marketing yet?


Outward Media’s proven data cleansing services and targeted, accurate B2B data can enable you to achieve better digital marketing ROI and, ultimately, convert more prospects into customers. Go here to find out about leveraging our SMB and medical market data on the LiveRamp Data Marketplace, where 95% of our email data matches the identity graph for use with display ad marketing.

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