Part of our daily marketing jargons are terms like B2B and B2C … As a company or individual, your business is always classified in one (or both) these categories. If your business caters to other businesses then your operation is classified as business-to-business (B2B); if however, your business caters directly to consumers then you’re dubbed as the latter, business-to-consumer (B2C).
This classification model makes sense from an operational perspective, but what about from strategic marketing perspective? Before I answer that question, I want you to think of the following scenarios:
- Let’s take the food industry for example – think of your favorite restaurant! Why is it so? What makes you go there? You probably love the food, the ambience, the service … but which of these elements is non-replicable? None!
- Let’s have a look at the health industry - a couple of years back, my dad had open heart surgery. He was presented with many options: this doctor has the best success record, this doctor graduated from the world’s most renowned medical university … at the end, my dad chose none of these options, instead he picked the doctor he felt most comfortable with!
- Let’s look at some products for a change … take the mobile industry for example. Do you really think what can be done with one phone cannot be replicated by another company. Just check the knockoff iPhones that are produced in China …
The point I’m trying to convey using these overly generalized examples is that there is no service or product that cannot be imitated or replicated! So what then is any company’s competitive advantage? What makes one company succeed and the other fail? People!
Back to my initial question … beyond the operational model, can companies afford to limit their strategic marketing to a B2B or B2C framework? NO!
The new approach I’d like to introduce in this post is Person-to-Person marketing (P2P), which in my opinion is at the core of social media success. Let’s revisit the above examples under this new light: I go to that restaurant because Dany is a great waiter and he makes me feel like I own the place. I chose this doctor not because of his impeccable track record nor his degrees, but simply because he made me feel like I mattered and I’m not just another patient. I chose this phone because their customer service cares! It’s People-to-People marketing!
Companies need to realize that their competitive advantage lies in the hands of their human resources. So how should they capitalize on that? Simply by investing in the personal brands of their employees.
Contrary to what some believe, Personal Branding is not limited to individuals! In my next post, I will be showcasing the relation between corporations and personal branding. Think About It!