Do you speak robot? Re-wiring b2b comms

A product recall for a faulty synthetic human hit the web a few weeks ago to announce, shock-factor-style, the new season of 'Humans' on Channel 4.

Do you speak robot? asks Debbie Zaman
Do you speak robot? asks Debbie Zaman
It got me thinking about the Festival of Marketing panel I had been asked to join to discuss b2b communications. 

Synthetic humans, unfortunately, sometimes seem part of the b2b audience businesses think they are trying to target. 

Stilted and unnatural, the language used is overly formal and very much 'other'. 

People don't speak to the audience in a regular way, don't empathise with it, and no-one appears to care if it actually enjoys the experiences put its way.  

The same could be said for social media and content creation for business audiences. We seem to forget that the people in the boardroom are humans too.

We were asked on the panel whether b2b could or should learn from b2c. But the very question seems to suggest that businesses are not run by people. 

Ultimately, whoever we're speaking to, we need to captivate them if they are to stick with us along the content journey, rather than tune out or click off after 10 seconds.

The panel also looked at the best platforms to target a b2b audience. 

Some b2b brands have incredible social channels spanning Instagram, YouTube, Periscope and more. 

Crucially, they have worked out where their audiences are and have built a strategy that engages them in those places.  

However, exciting new platforms don’t always help cut through the noise and clients are better advised to run fewer channels really well, rather than spread themselves too thinly. 

Without a clear content or social strategy, being across all channels can end up being the equivalent of shouting at the top of your voice in the middle of a dinner party. 

Not very human. 

‘Authenticity’ was a key word used by all of the other panelists as well: if you are going to create a podcast, don’t try and sell your latest product; if you are going to use Facebook Live, don’t just stream a formal panel session. 

So what does the future hold for b2b businesses engaging in the social space? 

Well, for me there are exciting opportunities in audio and a gap for companies to play curator rather than creator.  

There are definitely ways in which agencies and clients can work together to educate senior decision-makers on the value of social for b2b. 

If we put humans back at the heart of our strategies, there is no path that b2b content cannot tread.

Debbie Zaman is managing director of Withpr

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