Once upon a time, you defined who you were selling to, from pricing and distributing your products to marketing.

The starting point for almost every go-to-market strategy of a company was to find out whether it was a business-to-business (B2B), a business-to-consumer (B2C) or a business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B) acts. B2B2C).

You may have noticed the past tense usage there. Like almost everything else in life, business has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is forcing a re-evaluation of all types of systems that we believed made sense.

Regardless of whether your company is in the B2B, B2C, or B2B2C category, the truth is that you are actually in the B2P (business-to-people) business.

It’s time to understand what that means – and how to respond to it.

“Those involved in B2P marketing see their business customers not as mere organizations, but as individuals with unique desires, expectations and preferences,” says Marketing-Schools.org.

Similarly, an article in MediaPost explains, “B2P marketing is the realization that companies aren’t actually buying what they want to sell. Individual decision-makers – people – make the decisions for their businesses, not for impersonal, disengaged companies as a whole. “

We work at home and live at work

Think how quickly the pandemic broke down the barriers between the “business person” and the “home person”. Working together in an office has given way to working from home and “zooming” from the living room, guest room or kitchen table. The person who approves a $ 100,000 business software purchase is likely the same person approving their family’s streaming movie rentals on the same day. And she could do both from the same room in her house and probably wear the same casual clothes.

While it has always been true that real people were responsible for buying decisions, it used to be easier to divide up how we felt about those people: either as a person representing a company or as a consumer representing himself or his family. And we treated these purchase decisions differently.

How do you navigate through the new B2P world with these now changing distinctions?

Don’t just change your tone, rewrite the song

“At the beginning of the pandemic, according to a survey by the IAB in March 2020, missionary or cause-related marketing messages increased [Interactive Advertising Bureau]”reports an article in The Drum.” But over the months, the social divide from masks to social justice seeps away. # InThisTogether platitudes don’t resonate as much as they did at the start of the pandemic. “

So skip the platitudes and examine for yourself how your customers, prospects, partners and employees deal with the current challenges. In other words, focus on the people rather than their roles or your previous images of what they represented.

Find out what your customers are craving

As Amito’s Liz Hayward writes, “Think person-to-person about B2B. People crave lockdown connections. Now is the time for marketers to dive deep into the business and create the technical content that makes you Can make a difference. ” Take the time to understand what it takes and find solutions to the gnarled problems and overwhelming challenges your customers face. “

Instead of spending time creating clever sound bits about how much you care about your customers during “these tough times”, find out what they really need from you. Have current conversations with them. Ask them questions. And listen – really listen – what they say.

Only by listening carefully to the real needs of your customers right now can you develop new strategies tailored to people’s specific challenges.

Sell ​​less, give more

“Many of your best target customers are not buying right now. Budgets are being frozen, cash is being saved … Invest in your relationships, build on value, give generously,” advises Matt Heinz, president of Heinz Marketing, in an Engagio article.

And communicate – honestly, strategically, and at a pace that makes sense to your audience.

“Our communication since the beginning of the coronavirus has been more direct,” writes David van Schaick, CMO of Marketing Practice. “We all seem a little more down to earth, and I hope we hold on to that. If it is acceptable for your child to interrupt your video call, it is acceptable to say it as it is, without bombast.”

Be honest

“I think we’re going to put the concept of thought leadership aside, which now seems a bit pompous in its ambition,” van Schaick continues. “We’ve replaced it with helpfulness, usefulness, connection with people, offering them something of value, entertaining them. This is liberating for everyone in the communication game. Suddenly it’s okay not to have a didactic ‘message’ in every communication; it is enough to be useful, or empathetic, or just plain fun. “

In other words, focus your communication on real, living, breathing people. They are the ones who need your help now.