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BtoB and BtoC Are Artificial Labels. We Must Shift to PtoP!

Type: Blog
Topic: Voice of Customer CX

BtoB and BtoC Are Artificial Labels. We Must Shift to PtoP!“We are people and want to be treated as individuals, with individual needs, regardless of whether we are in an office or at home!”

This statement reflects powerful findings from BtoB and BtoC research conducted by our firm, ERDM, which indicate all-time highs in frustration with poor CX and personalization. A key driver of these feelings are Millennials, who know how much data is being captured by marketers when customers visit their web sites or use their apps…and can’t understand why this data is not being used to improve their customer experience!

The research indicates that marketers must fundamentally change their thinking, because no matter what you are selling—you are selling to a person. That “person” could be a Business PERSON or a Consumer PERSON. Old BtoB and BtoC thinking must evolve to focus on engaging with people—not segments or cohorts.

BtoB and BtoC are artificial labels that get in our way. Hence the need to shift to PtoP, (Person to Person). When you drop those labels you can begin to understand that no matter where the buying decision is made –at home or in office– it’s a person making that decision. Your ability to earn their repeat purchases and loyalty will be based on how they are treated—as a person not an account.

There are two key requirements for succeeding with PtoP engagement:

#1. Critical to achieving significantly improved CX and personalization is earning the right to engage customers to provide deep personal preference information. The good news is that in spite of major privacy concerns, customers are willing to opt-in to provide deep and explicit preference information. In this time of GDPR, gaining these opt-in preferences is not only good compliance, it also key to sustaining and scaling true personalization and CX.

However, this requires, Reciprocity of Value, i.e. that you provide noticeably improved personalization and CX in exchange for customer’s opt-in preference information. This will require that you cross the chasm and evolve from implicit data to explicit preference driven personalization.

#2. Per our VoC research findings, customers want proof that you care about them and their success throughout their customer lifecycle with you.

Therefore, in order to scale PtoP marketing you need to establish the strategies, points of contact and support to engage customers across these 7 VoC research-based lifecycle stages:

  • Acquisition
  • Onboarding
  • Anticipatory responses to decreasing engagement (visits, responses, purchases)
  • Immediate resolution of negative experiences
  • Surprise and delight and thank you marketing
  • Value added cross-selling and upselling
  • Repeat sales and renewals.


  • Traditional personas and cohorts are not working. You need to engage customers as individuals, so they trust your brand and provide deep personal preference information. Use all your customer touchpoints to learn customer preferences; retail, customer service, chat, online preference center, email, etc.
  • Create continuous opportunities for customers to provide feedback about their experiences with your brand throughout the 7 points in the lifecycle. It can be as simple as thumbs up/thumbs down, and questions such as “was this useful”, etc. Ask customers and they will help you improve.
  • Peoples’ needs change over time. Stay one step ahead by engaging in ongoing conversations with customers so you’ll know when to change your CX and offers to keep customers engaged and loyal.

In order to succeed with PtoP marketing, companies must rethink their fundamental view of the customer at every touchpoint and at every stage of their lifecycle. The opportunities for building deep and sustainable engagement are enormous and…desired by customers.


Ernan Roman

About the Author:
Ernan Roman Direct Marketing’s Customer Experience strategies achieve consistent double-digit increases in response and revenue for their clients, which include IBM, MassMutual, QVC, Microsoft, and Symantec Corp.

As a leader in providing Voice of Customer research-based guidance, ERDM has conducted over 10,000 hours of interviews with their clients’ customers and prospects, to gain an in-depth understanding of their expectations for high-value relationships.

The results achieved by ERDM’s VoC-based strategies earned Ernan Roman induction into the Marketing Hall of Fame.

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