Humanizing B2B: A Title That Needs Little Explanation

“This is a book about you, the hero of our story. You’re the much-loved, often-misunderstood wearer of many B2B marketing hats. The technologist, the strategist, the customer champion, the data expert, the creative leader, the analyst, the storyteller. You’re the hard-working, ambitious B2B marketer of the current age, whether you’re a chief marketing officer (CMO) or one of the younger generation of digital marketers wanting to leap ahead and win,” write Paul Cash and James Trezona in an introductory passage titled The Meteor is Coming. “…So where does the (meteor) come in?


After all, you’re still on the first couple of pages. You’ve just discovered that you’re the unwitting hero in a book about the inevitable demise of a profession you care deeply about, due to a mysterious chunk of rock heading your way. And it’s up to you to do something about it. As the hero, you must embark on a quest to destroy the meteor and save B2B Land from its fate. While you journey through foreign territory you’ll face countless challenges and naysayers, you’ll find yourself battling convention and you’ll even start questioning your own beliefs. However, have no fear, because we’re here to guide you all the way, and it starts with you learning a new language.”

So begins the illustrative, concise, and surprisingly entertaining leadership advice read that is Humanizing B2B: The New Truth in Marketing That Will Transform Your Brand and Sales. What struck me as most accomplished about the work in a stand-out, individualistic sense was Cash and Trezona’s preaching to a very specific choir. Clearly, maybe even if you’re a cynic ideologically, in a manner that is painfully so. But contradictorily, they do so in a manner still appealing and comprehensive to an overall base of thinking, educated, and well-rounded readers. This is regardless of the latter being immediately acquainted with the specifics of the book’s topicality. After all, in spite of the somewhat intellectually exclusive aspects of B2B marketing, the antidote to some of the prospect’s more faulty mechanisms is rooted in universal truth. Specifically the concerning of the titular humanization factor…

“Contrary to what seems to be the accepted view, B2B buyers respond to the language of emotion and will happily pay more for your products and services if they’re spoken to in that language. It’s the language of feelings, influence and clarity, encouraging your customers to buy again and again because it makes them feel positive about you,” Cash and Trezona argue. “It’s also the language of storytelling. If you take yourself back to the old days of charismatic B2B sales people, this is what they had in spades, but now these people are a dying breed and you need to learn what they always knew (and deploy it at scale through your marketing communications).”


In effect, have a little pragmatic empathy for the consumer. Understand the facets of a good song to the choir. These aspects, as Cash and Trezona time and again demonstrate, having nothing to do with the tenets of B2B marketing strategy, or having a skilled head for business. They have to do with that highly overrated phenomenon called being personable, a trait once eschewed as precious for workplace practices.

Clay Burton