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Business-to-human approach for marketing

September 2, 2015

Julie Woods-Moss   

Blog Contributor

People want to deal with people not machines. Increasingly, forward-thinking marketing strategists are spearheading a marketing movement that is business-to-human rather than B2B or B2C. Consumers are becoming smarter, they want companies to appeal to both their rational decision making process, as well as their imagination and value-based needs as a buyer. Hence, looking beyond the traditional silos, brands are creating campaigns with empathy, which spark empowerment.

Capturing the imagination of your audience isn’t a new concept, but the reality of doing so has changed for many companies. The question arises as to why have some companies been more successful than others? I believe, a campaign that breaks past the confines of traditional marketing and adopts a more personable style, speaks volumes for a brand in the eyes of the public. Look at General Electric’s creativity and storytelling, particularly in its ‘Innovation at Work’ campaign, or IBM’s ‘Smarter Planet’ campaign,, breaking past the confines of traditional marketing and adopting a more personable style speaks volumes for a brand in the eyes of the public.

Both campaigns go down the route of what one could call ‘challenge marketing’ – They feature a call to action, for the brand as well as for the customers – it says that we are aligned in our ambitions; it shows that a brand understands its target markets and how to speak to them on a more personal level effectively.

It’s evident that brands have cottoned on to the importance of involving their company in initiatives and crafting a story that positions them as a problem solver or a brand based on providing great experiences. These are messages that resonate with both business decision makers and consumers.

A consumer brand, Coca Cola, sponsored the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ – at the heart of the company’s thinking was that it wanted the fans to ‘get something very real’ out of the experience. The Coca Cola branded FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour plane was decorated to reflect the spirit of Brazil, and encapsulated the vibrancy, energy and excitement that Coca Cola wanted to create. One reason why the campaign was met with such enthusiasm amongst football fans and consumers as a whole was because Coca Cola itself treated the campaign as a community exercise just as much as a branding initiative.

Even for B2B marketing, I’m a firm believer in marketing initiatives that recognise the fact that C-level decision makers in all disciplines are human beings with varied interests in and out of work. Harnessing this rationale, Tata Communications’ marketing strategy is undergoing constant evolution. While we have by no means abandoned the work we do to educate CIOs and CTOs from a business perspective, we are also seeing the advantages of displaying our credentials as a connector of people and businesses in different ways. For example, through our work delivering world-class connectivity to Formula 1® race locations and the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One™ team; supporting Google Lunar X Prize entrant, Team Indus; and most recently our sponsorship of the Heathrow Express rail service.

My message to fellow B2B marketers is this. Decision-making is a journey which we ought to make as not just marketers but also as human beings based on multiple factors. B2B decision making is no different – for our brand to register maximum impact, we need to communicate with our target audience at multiple touch points. We want to influence through inspiration, however that inspiration does not come with simple logic and rationality alone. Adopting a business-to-human approach acknowledges this and incorporates a more imaginative marketing approach that works wonders while appealing to the emotional needs of buyers. After-all we are all consumers and human being as well.


Tata Communications was the Official Connectivity Provider of Formula 1® between 2012 and 2019. Tata Communications was also the Official Managed Connectivity Supplier to Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, and Official Digital Transformation Partner to ROKiT Williams Racing until the end of the 2019 season.