I heard this term for the first time last week and had to take to the intertubes to learn more. Strangely, I didn't not find much. So I want to share my thoughts on this.
We have all heard B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer). But this has now evolved into B2ME. The simple definition is the practice of marketing to the individual based on the desires of that individual. It's not about closing a sale, it's about developing a relatinoship with every single unique individual.
This doesn't (or shouldn't) seem like a new way to market. We have been doing this all along, right? Well, the advent of personal technology has quite a bit to do with it. Marketing has had to catch up with individuals who are mobile, savvy, and in control of the sales cycle in pretty much every type of buyer/seller relationship.
I see five benefits that the B2ME approach brings to any buyer/seller relationship:
Unique. The "shotgun blast" method of marketing has refined to a individualized approach. Now, every single current or potential client is treated as a unique client, not part of a demographic.
Relevant. The elements of the relationship are relevant to the individual, not necessarily the seller or the situation.
Adaptable. B2ME marketing is about adapting to the buyer's situation at the time of engagement. It responds to the buyer's attitudes, behaviors, and needs. It solves a problem, not necessarily sells a solution.
Intelligent. B2ME is about learning as you go, developing marketing skills that are more effective tomorrow because of what you learned to day.
Flexible. B2ME is all about flexibility. Whether it's a big, Fortune 100 relationship or the buyer just needs some new insurance, the B2ME is flexible to any buyer/seller situation.
You know what this sounds like? It sounds like we're being human.
Where B2ME has real potential is in the almost automated B2B world. You, representing a company, talk to a client, representing a company, and you sell to that company through the rep. The benefit that B2ME brings to the relationship is that the rep is human, has good days and bad days, and feels certain ways about things. B2ME is about recognizing that, and tailoring the relationship to respect those unique qualities.
What's driving this marketing evolution? The buyer. The sales relationship is completely owned by the consumer now. With the knowledge and control a buyer has in a buying situation, it's absolutely crucial that marketers everywhere respect the time and effort the buyer puts into the relationship by reciprocating.
That's the way it should be.
Flanigan is the former executive director of the Digital Screenmedia Association. You can also find him writing regularly at his own blog, Experiate.net.