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Customers need a Human Touch in Digital Marketing.
What is “Human to Human Marketing”?
Amazing advances have been made in technologies that help digital marketers do more than ever before. But marketers must resist relying too much on technology. They risk losing sight of the most important factor for successful digital marketing: the human touch.
Whether the company is B2C or B2B, customers want to talk to and do business with people, not organizations or brands. Many buying decisions include a very important emotional component that is best influenced by interactions with the people in a company. Prioritizing the right human touch helps shape buying behavior and positive outcomes.
On the other hand, technologies like marketing automation are critical to sustaining that human touch, especially when trying to reach a multitude of diverse customers. These technologies can help nurture more sales-ready leads, and free up marketers for creative work and for working more effectively with customers as people. Humanized marketing focuses on establishing sincere relationships with customers and building the trust that can only come from person to person communication.
Customer Analytics Uncover the Human Factor
Marketers need to uncover who customers are and apply that customer intelligence to humanize marketing. Connecting meaningfully to customers requires engendering more individualized interactions and experiences. More attention should go into personalized communications with customers that work well for a particular channel of engagement.
But personalization can only be effective with accurate, up-to-date information on customers, products, channels, locations, and other relevant information. Creating and continuously updating customer segmentations and personas with new customer information allow marketers to address each customer more relevantly and personally, essentially building a “360° view” of customers.
Customer data analytics bring the most value as continuous processes: to expand customer understanding, to help support responsiveness and personal conversations, to build relationships and trust. Increasingly, companies that deliver better individualized experiences to their customers are more likely to outperform competitors in sales and revenue, as well as retaining customers for the long term.
Often marketers rely too much on their own silos of data and don’t include a wide variety of data sources.
Collecting customer information from all channels and interactions, and from all relevant internal sources, adds important data points for analytics processes. Analytics work best when data silos in the organization are reduced, and different perspectives are used to create analytical models.
The integration of customer-related data is cross-organizational, and requires the cooperation of all customer-related functions, including CRM, product management, and sales. Resources outside of the marketing organization will be needed to integrate data from multiple disparate systems. And the results of customer data analytics must be shared across the organization to ensure the most up-to-date customer intelligence for all functions.
Talk to Customers – Person to Person
The heart of human to human marketing arises from the conversations that companies have with their customers. These conversations may take place as telephone exchanges, messages, live website chats, social media posts, or other communication modes.
With the multichannel nature of digital marketing, customer conversations frequently start on one channel and then continue on others. Companies need to make sure that continuity is maintained as these conversations move from channel to channel, whether marketing is directly involved, customer service or any other customer-facing functions. Make it easy for customers to reach out and talk, especially on websites and mobile apps. Clearly display links to all communication capabilities, such as live customer service, social media sites, forums, emails, or in-app chats.
Customers are increasingly engaging with companies in live conversations on different channels and expect real-time interactions all the time. This is an important opportunity to show the human side of a company. Drawing on customer intelligence and personalization capabilities, it’s also the time to focus on the customer perspective and language to communicate in meaningful and interesting ways. For live engagement to work well, it should be integrated with automated digital marketing functions.
To better communicate with customers, it’s important to align the phases of buyer journeys with channels and interactions. Determine which channels typically map to the most important journey stages, based on the behaviour of customers. If resources are limited, support only those channels. Adept orchestration of all channel communications with customer strategies and supporting technologies will ensure a more human approach. Behind the scenes, customer conversations should be shared with all relevant functions, to improve customer understanding, as well as products and services.