Part of what makes Paul Cash and James Trezona’s new book so much fun is that it is wholly representative of the information and topicality it covers, but in a fun and irreverent style. Don’t be fooled by the verbose nature of the title, specifically Humanizing B2B: The New Truth in Marketing That Will Transform Your Brand and Your Sales. “You may be thinking that none of this is rocket science and that there’s been a background hum about moving to a more customer-led marketing model for years.


You’d be right, but the problem is that most B2B businesses haven’t made it happen in reality,” Cash and Trezona write in one of the book’s key chapters. “We have to get away from this impersonal approach and engage directly with audiences on their issues and challenges – the things that are important to them in their lives. More than this, we need to use emotion to unlock people’s understanding so we can move minds and thereby move products. This is what humanizing B2B is all about.”

Cash and Trezona’s narrative irreverence is matched by the fact the marketing scene has radically changed in the past couple of years. Now, the concept of one investing in an enterprise is tied to one’s beliefs and convictions about the enterprise’s goals, as much as it is about making money and achieving considerable gains from said investment.

There’s never a sense these days that viscera and the corporate jungle are antithetical to one another. If anything, critics of contemporary society state the lines have become too blurred between one’s passionate convictions in private, and the nature of industry decision-making in the modern world. Cash and Trezona hone in on this and then some, providing an informed, well-educated, and worldly perspective on such matters without ever coming across as elitist. “Discussions about the customer experience have been circulating around B2C boardroom tables for the past five years now. From all the research we’ve seen, it’s one of the top three elements these companies are concentrating on to increase their sales and retain the loyalty of their existing customers.

The customer experience is now seen as the primary factor to consider when designing technology platforms or creating new services. In B2B, although putting customers at the centre of things was the way it was 50 years ago, now it’s moved backwards. Given that there’s a resurgence of interest in customers and what they want from brands in B2C, we think B2B needs to take up the people baton and run with it,” they state. “…Be intimate with your customers but don’t be led by them; don’t confuse delivering what they ‘want’ with doing good marketing. If you treat B2B marketing as a product process – create a concept, prove it, ship it, then sell it to the markets – the customer will always be an afterthought. Instead, if you say to yourself, ‘We have these amazing customers.

What can we create for them? What would inspire them? What would make us truly irresistible to them? And what kind of company do they want to buy from in any case?’, think how transformational that would be. You’d be addressing their unconscious needs, which are far more powerful than their conscious ones. You want to be a teacher, not a sales person; a trusted educator, not a mere advisor. Offering new insights through your products, services and marketing is the ultimate place to be – you’re irreplaceable then.”

Garth Thomas