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Conversational Marketing Closes the Gap Between B2C and B2B, Says Drift Marketing VP

Conversational marketing is a whole new way of thinking about marketing and sales, says Dave Gerhardt, VP of Marketing at Drift. “We go to our jobs in B2B and none of the tools that we use match how we actually buy as real people,” he says. “That’s the most exciting thing to me about conversational marketing. It’s really closing the gap between B2C and B2B. We just call it B2P, marketing to people.”

Dave Gerhardt, VP of Marketing at Drift, was recently interviewed on the B2B Growth podcast by John Rougeux who is VP of Marketing at Skyfii. Gerhardt discusses conversational marketing as a new B2B product category and how it is changing marketing from reaching out to you later to a conversation that is happening now:

Conversational Marketing is About Connecting You Now

Conversational marketing is a whole new way of thinking about marketing and sales. The traditional way of doing marketing and sales is all about later. Come to my website and fill out this form and somebody is going to reach out to you later, when it’s convenient for them. The big shift that is happening in marketing and business over the last five to ten years is customers have all the power today. You can’t make people wait. Information is free now.

I can find anything I want to know about a company without ever having to go to your website. It’s crazy to think that you are going to force people to go to your website, fill out a form, wait three days to hear back from your sales team, and then get a demo. Conversational is all about connecting you now with the people who are ready to buy now while they are live on your website.

B2P – Marketing to People

It’s not about buyers. It’s not about sellers. It’s not about sales. It’s not about marketing. It’s about people. That’s how people all communicate online today. I pressed one button in my car and I got a list. I ordered something from Amazon while I was here this morning to send back to my house and it’s going to be there tomorrow when I get home. There are countless examples of that. That is how we all behave online in our real lives today.

But then something happens weird happens. We go to our jobs in B2B and none of the tools that we use match how we actually buy as real people. That’s the most exciting thing to me about conversational marketing. It’s really closing the gap between B2C and B2B. We just call it B2P, marketing to people.

What Ties Our Products Together is Conversation

We have an email product and we have a landing page product. Black and white versions of those people would say everybody has email, everybody has landing pages. The thing that ties those together is conversation. That forces us to think about what is conversational email? What is conversational landing pages? What is conversational whatever? That one word forces our product team to think about how can we change this? If our fundamental stance as a company is that the internet should be one conversation, then how does that weave into everything that we build?

Ultimately what we care about is that email becomes a conversation. Meaning, the way that marketers have had to use email the last decade is a one-way channel. Email is meant to be a two-way channel. Marketers have been using it as, “John come to my webinar.” What happens if you actually respond to that email? Most of the time you can’t because it’s donotreply@ or it just goes to some inbox where nobody is answering it. That is a terrible experience. Our belief is that if you reply, “Hey actually I can’t make it. Can you reregister my colleague?” That should get handled. We are thinking of that from an evolution standpoint.

The same thing with landing pages. Most landing pages today are static. You go to the landing page, put a bunch of info in and you are gone. What if that was a real-time conversation on the page? That one topic has to weave itself into everything we do from a product perspective.

>> Listen to the complete interview with Drift Marketing VP Dave Gerhardt on the B2B Growth podcast.

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