Close this search box.


A little more conversation, a lot more interaction | B2B Marketing

Is conversational marketing just another B2B buzzword? Or is it a different way to meaningfully engage with your target audience? Matt Garisch writes

Conversational marketing – yet another marketing buzzword to throw around the B2B marketing universe. But what does it mean? Well, the truth is like many grandiose marketing pedigrees bandied around today, like account-based marketing (ABM), influencer marketing, and (one of my favourite catch-alls) CX, it isn’t a new concept, but rather a different way of thinking about how you engage with your target audience.

I feel I have an insight into this connected conversation world, both from a marketing standpoint and from the rather more unusual perspective of living with a shrink – the master of connected conversations o(r at least she thinks she is).

Valuing the human element

Starting a conversation in a room full of people you don’t actually know is one of the hardest things to do. And it’s even harder to engineer and create ‘genuine’ interest with one another.

I’m not talking about interest in a product or service, but in the person. A conversation completely hinges on two parties being engaged in the here and now. With that in mind, I wondered, can a machine do this? Is a kick-ass ABM programme and tech stack alone strong enough to deliver this for you? In a word, no.

Just this week I picked up on

this very honest LinkedIn post by Nikki Nixon

, reiterating the biggest challenge with any form of marketing is that we’ve forgotten we’re trying to connect with an actual human being. Customer personas, detailed interests, and company information alone do not make for a good conversation.

How odd then, that when we try to use something that we as people do every day, it often fails. It’s now far too easy to get lost in the data, with people becoming just lines on a spreadsheet.

This is where marketing evangelists would say sales and marketing alignment comes in to play, as salespeople are adept at creating conversations. I disagree. Part of the problem is the ability to truly listen.

“True listening requires the setting aside of one’s self” – 

M Scott Peck, psychiatrist and author,

The Road Less Travelled

Listening is the step before the use of customer data, marketing tools, content, and CX – and contextualises it into something meaningful.

Conversational marketing isn’t new and shiny

Admittedly conversational marketing has been around for a fair bit, with the resurgence being brought forward by chatbot vendors like Drift.

However, they weren’t the first people to start the conversation. In fact, the rise in a more real-time and personal way of engaging with your audience has been seen as the key for a long time.

In 2015, Gartner predicted the rise in a more real-time and personal way of engaging with audiences, stating by 2018, organisations that excel at personalised customer integration online will outsell slow-to-act rivals by more than 30%. Now more than ever, digital experiences, understanding our customers, and engaging with them on their terms and at the right times, is no longer a ‘nice to have’, it’s expected.

My aim is to see this blog as the start of a connected conversation with you. And next time you think about your marketing plan, strategy, or product launch, try putting the types of conversations you want at the heart of your thought process, and see if you get a different result.

As a parting thought, I would like to share a couple of points on the subject of conversation from Celeste Headlee, TEDx speaker and radio broadcaster:

  • Be present

    – in a marketing context, it has to be real-time and personal.

  • Go with the flow

    – conversations, like customer journeys, aren’t in the shape of a funnel or a straight line, but more like a DNA Helix.

  • Don’t equate your experience with theirs

    – all experiences are individual. Unless they actively ask, they don’t care about the great work you did for someone else.

  • Conversations are not promotion opportunities

    – in your experience, have you ever enjoyed an evening out with someone who only talked about how great they are as a human being, how amazing their business is, and how freaking awesome their life is?

  • Forget the details

    – people buy people, then they buy value, everything else is irrelevant.

  • Listen


Related Articles

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on your website. Read more about cookies policy.