You walk into your regular salon one evening. The one you’ve been going to every month since 2009.
You’re met with a big smile, small talk, your regular hairdresser gives you a hug, tut-tuts over your trim-begging fringe, and you’ve been given coffee just the way you like it.
This is your me-time.
But this month, you walk in, ready for that haircut and something doesn’t feel right. No, a lot of it doesn’t feel right. It finally hits you, the place is being run by robots.
These robots don’t care that you have been getting your hair done there for a decade, or that you’re allergic to hairspray.
They might have been programmed to remember how you take your coffee, but they’re not interested in how your day’s been and they sure don’t welcome you with a hug.
These robots were made to perform one task and one task only – expertly chop off those split ends, swipe your credit card, and wave their metallic goodbyes.
Scary? Yep. But with tech and automation and the arrival of the “future of work,” it’s not really that far-fetched.
Customer service is slowly and steadily getting colder. Robots are answering our phone calls. And businesses are ‘caring’ digitally.
Marketers, too, the communicators and the heart of a growing business, are turning to automation.
Be you want to be careful with this because a good mix of both automation and human aspect actually helps a business than harm it.
While a marketer’s goal on paper might be to increase sales and drive customer retention, the real goal is to build a community of loving, loyal fans. And you can’t automate love and loyalty. (Or can you?)
It’s all about creating human-to-human (H2H) connections whether you’re marketing for a business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) organization.
So, let’s look at a few ways at how our marketing strategies can sound more human.
When you chalk up a super-personal marketing strategy for your company, what you are essentially telling people is that “Hey, I’m listening. Tell me what you need and I’ll help you out. I got you.”
The more you show them this, and not just tell them; the more likely they will be able to relate to you.
Be warned, this is a golden strategy, but it takes as much head as it does heart.
Human-to-human marketing is about building real relationships, so if you want to go this route, get ready to get your hands deep in the mud.
Getting to know your consumer should be a process where each step leads to a new discovery.
Real-world relationships take time. There are many steps between “Hi, I’m John Doe” and “Jane, will you marry me?”
There’s no reason why brand-customer relationships would work any differently. You want to get to know each other.
Give them tonnes of relevant, trustworthy, and helpful information. Appeal to the sensibilities of your smart consumers.
News flash: Your consumers don’t care about what you are selling. They care only about what they are getting out of it.
Have real conversations with them. Engaging with your customers on multiple social media channels should be a big part of your customer service and marketing armory.
Get them talking. One of the Dale Carnegie’s golden rules in “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is to listen much more than you speak.
Ask your customers about their lives, their thoughts, their problems and the solutions they are looking for. And only then propose what you are offering. People love buying but they hate getting sold to. Remember that this is about them.
Story-telling is a powerful tool. It’s always been a huge part of the human social context. Stories bring people together.
You want your customers to go through a journey with you. Make them feel something.
People might not remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.
Humour is one great way to win over people if it fits within your marketing strategy. Add it to your website, your blog, or even to your social media channels and you will have an audience that will keep coming back for more.
Similarly, you can use empathy, motivation, and other powerful emotions woven into great stories to win people over.
People buy from people. Your customers don’t really care whether you are in sales or operations, but they will care if you help solve a problem they have.
So make a pain-free customer journey your primary objective across every department.
When consumers face problems using your products, helping them with damage control goes a long way in helping your product itself.
You can help by answering a question or fix an issue they’ve expressed they’re having – regardless of the time of day or night.
Remember, care is your best marketing strategy.
Creating great video, audio, and written content to answer customer questions and help them out when they are looking for answers is a great ever-present way to show you care.
Listen hard, talk with heart, make mistakes, garner loyalty, show respect and care genuinely about providing a great product, service, and support.
Being a good brand is about doing all of those things consistently, just like a great person would.
In the words of David Ogilvy, one of the world’s greatest ad-men: “The consumer isn’t a moron. She is your wife”
Are you convinced your marketing calendar could use some more warmth? Or are you already using care and human-to-human connections to grow?
Scroll on down to the comments and tell us how you’re going to do it. We’ll even come back and hold you to it, so make it a promise you’re not going to break!