When I was a kid, I did not have to walk to school uphill, both ways, in the snow! But it was before you could buy calculators and computers in the dollar store.

Math was always done on paper and memorized (like multiplication tables). Memorized meant repetition and relevance. I am trying to remember any algebra, trig, or calculus that I actually use today. Much of it was based on formulas and principles. I know it's used in science and computing, but I'm in sales, marketing, and advertising.

Most of the math I do today is primarily in accounting and spreadsheets. There is a bit of geometry involved in creating art in Photoshop. Art and music use geometry, math, and formulas.

Business Math

Business is about math. Income minus expenses equals profits. Advertising is not any different. You want to spend as little as possible to increase sales to make more profit.

Yet computers are making it harder, not easier, to make advertising profitable. Although you may be able to target which audience you want to see your messages, the computer algorithms pick who sees them. They may feel like they are being successful, but it's truly a numbers game.

I am all about making marketing easier, not harder.

MATH is an Acronym

Easy is a relative term. Computers make math easy by doing a lot of the work for us. When we type a prompt into ChatGPT or search Google for an answer, we don't see all the bits and bytes being crunched. We only pay attention to what is computed as an output.

Marketing is a relative term. Computer automation makes marketing easier, but is the relative output easy to compute or do math with? We only pay attention to what is computed as sales.

Business-to-business marketing, in the form of advertising, is a numbers game. We want to find the largest possible audience to market to, hoping for a limited sales output.

You may be wasting clicks and money if you market to a large audience. If you select too small of an audience, you may work too hard to convert contact to sales.

Advertising is quick but expensive (easier). Relationship marketing takes more time but can be more effective. Just like math, it can be perceived as hard, but it does not have to be.

Let's look at relationship marketing as MATH. Or better yet, and an acronym. MATH = Meet Audiences (with)Targeted Help.

Advertising vs. Relationship Marketing

Advertising is about creating messages, sharing them with a semi-targeted audience, and hoping that people will contact you or whip out a PO and make a purchase.

Relationship marketing is about creating messages, sharing them with a laser-targeted audience, and hoping that people will continue to consume and look for more.

Relationship marketing differs because you are meeting and marketing to individuals. You can see who they are and who they work for. You can get to know them way before you expect them to whip out a PO and make a purchase.

Next, we will dig into the MATH behind the madness (or acronym).

Meet Audiences (with)Targeted Help


You already have a circle of influence—you know current and past customers. You also have relationships with vendors. The goal is to analyze who you are connected to and start to profile what makes them want to do business with you and not your competitors.

Another advantage is that those people already know, like, and trust you. They can be a great referral source or partner if a person or company starts learning about you.

Imagine you are meeting people for the very first time. It's not about whether they would buy from you. It should be about what mutual benefit you could provide each other (even if your benefit is an additional sale).


An audience is also called an avatar. Your perfect avatar is a copy of your current perfect customers. Advertising tries to reach those avatars with messages.

Relationship marketing is learning about and searching for individuals who might be perfect avatars. You can connect with them first rather than wait for them to communicate with you. The goal is not to connect and sell but to connect and wait.

Tools like LinkedIn can show if they have any connections in common. If you state in a connection request, “Hey, I just wanted to connect with you because we have a mutual friend,” there is a better chance that they will accept.

Then wait…


Advertising tries to reach the widest audience. Relationship marketing relies on you targeting the right person with the right message at the right time. Part of that targeting takes a bit more research.

What and who are they engaging with online, if at all? It takes some time and patience, but you can start to see patterns that lead you to share information that will grab their attention.

You may or may not see them engaging with your content. But, when they do, you have hopefully planted the seeds of a business connection leading to conversations.


Mr. Rogers famously said, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” When your audience has a problem, have you inspired them to have confidence that you have answers?

Content should say, “I know your problem because we have seen it before. Here is a possible solution. If that's not quite right, let's take the time to discuss and see if we can tailor a solution for your specific needs.”

Hope marketing hopes that people will self-navigate to your website contact form. Having blog posts or webpages with answers that track where people were when they asked for help also improves communications. Having problem-solving-specific people in your company inspires conversations.

Relationship marketing is about creating a path for your avatars and having a personal relationship with your people.

Closing Thoughts

In Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers he talks about how culture, language, and community can create situations where MATH is easier or harder.

We have found that businesses that educate and provide tools for their teams to build better business relationships build more stable, predictable, and successful people, systems, and companies.

To sum up, MATH is HARD. But if you want to add more customers and multiply your profits you should subtract some old processes and then divide and conquer to help the right people at the right time.

Together, we can show you how to Meet Audiences (with)Targeted Help.

“If a man's wit be wandering, let him study the mathematics.”
– Francis Bacon

Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about business-to-business sales and marketing today! Do you have a sales or marketing communications strategy that works for you? What tips or techniques can you share that work for you and your business?

To learn more about this and other topics on B2b Sales & Marketing, visit our podcast website at The Bacon Podcast.

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