We’re living in an era when customers have the power to voice their opinion (reviews) and these opinions can spread like wildfire and impact a brand’s digital DNA and Google ranking. The rapid rise of technology and the constant social media feed has changed how we communicate with each other. Companies have done away with voice mail, and texts have replaced phone calls and emails in some instances. Knowledge bases, AI and Bots have replaced customer service. Marketers are using technologies and human insights to capture data to dictate their marketing. This year, they are focusing on the value and importance of CUSTOMERS and they’re calling them HUMANS!
At last year’s Association of National Advertisers (ANA) conference in Orlando, Human Marketing was the big buzzword. Marketing experts like Eric Reynolds, CMO of the Clorox Company said, “Marketing is getting back to where it started, being useful to real people, humans. While data is important, humans are essential. Marketers are far from being really smart about data.” Suzy Deering, CMO of eBay Americas, said her company has been looking at data to understand what stories they could be telling in their ads.
When I started out in consumer electronics, competition was fierce. But there was always an opportunity to listen to music, have a glass of wine, and solve problems in a mutually beneficial fashion. Oh, and it was fun. We got to know each other very well.
Here are some suggestions on humanizing your own business.
Show Your True Personality. Personality is what makes a brand stand out from the crowd, and you should never be afraid to stand out. Customers buy from those they like and trust. If your brand has no personality, how will these customers relate to you? Showcase your brands’ personality in your marketing efforts online and offline. Have real conversations with real people to create relationships with these potential customers.
Introduce Your Staff Members. Do you know what your customers are searching for on your website? Usually the most popular page of a website is ‘about us’ or ‘meet the team’. Customers want to know who is behind the brands they love, what skill-sets they boast, and what they look like. Simply, customers want to be able to relate with you.
Always, Always Be Accessible. Make sure customers can easily reach you. Make sure your telephone number, email address and social networking platforms are easy to find. Don’t make people work hard to find you. Also, keep messaging on the platform the customer contacted you by (e.g. if a customer contacted you on Facebook, they want a response on Facebook).
Never Keep Them Waiting! Customers will want to contact you at a time suited to them and not your business; you must be there to answer their questions. Always answer their queries as soon as possible in a direct and personal manner. Refrain from using automated messages as this will frustrate customers.
Talk to Your Customers. Having a blog and a robust social media strategy are all about conversations. Creating engaging content is key, but conversation – especially the rare face-to-face conversations – are the best content you’ll ever create. Storytelling is an art best done in person.