Shot from behind a father with kid working from home during quarantine. Father is looking at three computer screens while sitting at desk, and son is sitting at kids table.
PHOTO: len44ik

A few years ago, if you asked the average employee about their SaaS preferences — which tools they like to use, if they have brand affinity, or even their favorite features and functionality — they would’ve directed you to IT.

In reality, they were also unlikely to be aware of the brands that made up their company’s tech stack. But today, hybrid work has changed everything. Some days, it can be hard to tell if we are working from our homes or living in our offices, right?

Hybrid working and our dependence on technology means that now, employees think of software like they do their favorite consumer brands. Digital adoption, which was primarily driven by IT, is now significantly impacted by end-user preference. This presents a major change in strategy for B2B technology companies and their marketing teams, who now need to focus on meeting consumers where they are, and more often. 

Adopt a Business-to-Human Marketing Approach

As a result of the pandemic, we have become increasingly reliant on collaboration and communication solutions to stay in touch and remain productive. Technology is so much more integrated into everyday life, and employees have certain preferences depending on how they go about their workdays. Because of those preferences, modern, hybrid workers are more critical in the software decision-making process. For example, the modern worker has more agency over questions like: Should we work in Microsoft Teams or Google Workspace? What project management software should we deploy? Does the company value data protection or are they holding onto personal information?

I’ve heard the analogy before that traditional B2B marketing should become more akin to B2C, but I argue that business-to-human is a more accurate description. Instead of marketing to only the IT managers and CIOs of the world, for example, B2B technology companies today need to expand their audience. That means creating marketing materials that speak broadly to hybrid workers, because they are playing a more active decision-making role. 

Related Article: B2B Marketing: Acknowledging Risk Helps Manage Change

Deploy Omni-Channel Marketing

Traditionally, B2B marketing messages would be delivered within the 9-5 workday — whether an eBook, targeted emails, or banner ads. The business to human approach, however, understands and accepts that the lines between work and life have become blurred. So even typical software decision-makers like the IT Manager or the CIO need to be viewed fully as humans in today’s digital age.

For example, the CIO may jump on TikTok in the middle of the day or after spending time with family in the evening—and while her CIO hat is not necessarily on in that moment, she still thinks like a CIO. The same goes for an IT manager at a hockey game, or a records and compliance executive scouring the internet after hours.

Related Article: The New Priorities of Next-Generation B2B Marketing

Create an Emotional Reaction

It goes without saying that in addition to the blurred lines between work and life, consumers today are spending more time on screens than ever before. So when bombarded with content, the age-old question remains: how can a marketer break through the noise? The key is to elicit an emotional response and connection, which has been a cornerstone of consumer branding for decades.

Because the value of software has become more intertwined with our daily lives and not just working lives, this should become easier to do — and yet, so few brands are bold enough to experiment with non-traditional marketing. But as hybrid working continues to change behaviors, so, too, do marketing tactics.