Be Human. Marketing’s Superpower in a Tech-Filled World

I am not a number

We have access to so much data and real-time consumer insight these days, more than even a decade ago due to incredible advancements made with technology.  However, it doesn’t matter how much technology we have, businesses are vying for the attention of people not machines.  
We need technology to target and understand consumer behaviour but we then need empathy to get into their hearts and minds to keep them loyal to our businesses.
Most businesses, particularly purposeful, people centred, heart-based businesses (I’m not a fan of this term either but couldn’t think of a better one) don’t want to be bogged down with the mechanics of using marketing strategies like lead – generation to get new leads, they simply want to get on with what they are passionate about.  To them the act of marketing is sometimes seen as manipulative and inauthentic.  And to be honest that is true if that’s how *you choose to do it.*   
The advancements in technology has enabled us to target more effectively and reach more of the right people. This is a good thing. As a business that want’s to change the lives of individuals, teams or communities, you can take advantage of this without feeling like you’re selling your soul. 
I’ve worked with businesses that were uncomfortable with the idea of using marketing tactics to increase web views and content shares because it didn’t seem inauthentic.  They believed that if their work was good enough it would get the desired attention eventually.  In many ways they are right, but there are many great pieces of content that aren’t seen because people haven’t used technology that’s out there to help them share their work to as many of their ideal audience as possible.  
Yes, there are and will be companies that hear about how they can use algorithms and techniques to increase lead generation and they completely forget that they are dealing with people at the end of the day.  They want the quick fix, they want to manipulate the system just to get the numbers.  But once they’ve amassed all those leads, then what?  
UK research shows that consumer confidence with businesses is low and the churn rate has increased to 20% from 18% in the last few years.  Meaning that 1 in 5 consumers will move to a competitor within 12 months if they are dissatisfied with the service they are receiving and most times they’ll move without even complaining. It’s clear that the missing link there is human to human engagement. 
We should be nurturing our relationships with our potential and actual customers all of the time, trying to give them the best experience from the first touch point with your business onwards. 
How many times have you had someone reach out to you on LinkedIn only to try to sell you something in the first 24hrs of you connecting with them.  Or you follow someone on Twitter only for them to unfollow you to make the follower to following ratio appear more in their favour.  And lastly you were placed on a email list without the brand or individual asking your permission beforehand!?
I remember receiving a LinkedIn direct message from a contact that I had been connected to for years but never engaged with.  It was obvious they were promoting their business but they did it in a way that didn’t *seem* pushy.  Towards the end they asked what I did and what I was up to as it might be useful for her contacts.  I remember thinking how refreshing, they seemed to genuinely want to engage.  I sent my response but I didn’t receive an answer after that.
It was the equivalent of someone walking away from you without acknowledging anything you said. What a shame.
They meant well, but they didn’t have the patience to use that opportunity to nurture a more engaged connection with me, where over time it may have led to mutual opportunities.  Remember, everyone wants to feel valued. Whether you’re in the business of selling second-hand cars to life coaching. Be genuine with your intentions and value the connection.  
  • Get to know as much about your audience as possible from their first connection with your business and throughout the lifetime of their connection with you. Developing personas is a good place to start.
  • Care enough about the customers you serve.  Show empathy by wanting to put yourselves in their shoes. Regularly ask them questions about their needs or issues they may have etc.
  • Once you get new leads be invested in connecting, engaging and getting to know them. 
  • Don’t relying solely on technology to do the work of connecting with your audience. Technology can never be a substitute for the relationship building process.
  • Ask permission *before* adding someone to your newsletter ; )
Be the best version of you when it comes to serving your audience and let their loyalty to you motivate you to be even better. As we experience the huge increase in the use of technology in business, how can you become so human that there’s no competition at all between you and technology?
Technology can enhance the value you bring to your audience but being human and *treating them as human* will keep them with you for the long term.