The Changing Face of Marketing: Being Digital Doesn't Mean You Can't Be Human

Richard Oldale
by Richard Oldale 18 Jul, 2014

The marketing game is changing. Consumer use of multiple platforms and the rapid growth of m-commerce is altering the advertising landscape and shifting high-volume transactions into electronic format. 


We could all see it happening years ago, but the number of webmasters that are still unprepared for the mobile revolution is shocking. And there is more to online shopping than developing a responsive website and creating engaging copy.


Web content is evolving and marketers are being challenged to engage with their audience in ways that offer individuals a unique user experience. Interactive games, multiple funnels and check out options are all parcel and package of "mobile programmatic marketing." But now you have to make consumers feel special. 



Direct digital


For the most part, legislation has moved us away from cold calling and junk mail to direct marketing techniques that offer a personal touch. So called "unsolicited" advertising is forbidden, but there is a loophole if prospects have given you the green light to contact them.


This is normally achieved by obtaining contact details by getting customers to sign up to receive information or products they want. Once you have an email address or mobile number you are free to send advertising material unless consumers have expressed otherwise. The key to securing a sale however is to make your offers personal. 


The values of direct marketing have not changed. There is still the same consumer focus and attention to customer service. Make your audience feel special and make them offers that are "especially for you" and you stroke their ego and arouse desire. Job done! 



Personalizing delivery


Digital technology has made it easier than ever for companies to collect rich data from prospects than you can used to generate offers against an individual's profile and generate a personalized message, or package. 


The most effective methods to procure rich info is by using customer relation management (CRM) software. By asking the right questions you can understand the customer's needs and tailor your offer and service to the individual. 


Label this personalized service as a "special" offer, or for customers higher up the purchasing ladder, "VIP" clients. But remember, your service must meet the customer's needs at every stage otherwise you risk losing customer loyalty. When using CRM software then, it is important to know your goals before putting your strategy in motion.


To be fair, acquiring the specific information you need from individuals is trial and error and you cannot keep asking prospects to fill in questionnaires. However, you can use the various digital channels such as social media and mobile devices to learn more about their interactions. A like and a share can tell you a lot about a person. 


Likewise, if you send an email. How does the receiver behave? Do they click on a direct link within emails and if so what type of like are interesting them? Can you use the information you accrue from various platforms to send a personalized information pack with a "VIP" offer?



Humanizing your brand 


Of course, there is more to digital marketing than stroking the customer's ego. There is a growing need to treat prospects like a human being rather than just another customer you are trying to get to part with their money. And that means humanizing your brand.


The driving force behind humanizing your brand is through content. This is your voice. Marketing in the modern era has more to do with communication than it does with directly selling your products or services. 



The moniker "Content is King" holds as true today as it did when it was first coined some time around 2008 - in fact, content is probably even more important now than it has ever been in the past. 


Written content should talk to people as though you are speaking with them directly. Do not lecture, advise. Offer readers information that is of value. Video and other image content should be eye-catching and entertaining. Appeal the sensibilities of your audience. Apple's recent "chicken fat" add is a good example. 


Transparency is another key factor. Earn a client's faith and they will buy. Stick to your promise and earn their trust - and they will continue buying. If you make a mistake, admit that you are wrong. Word of mouth is still the best form of advertising and you know how people like to gossip when they feel hard done by!


Finally, be generous. Everybody is more satisfied with a brand, product and service when they feel they have had a good deal. Life is hard for many consumers in the current social and economic climate and if businesses can offer people something they need for a price they can afford you get a lot of kudos. And respect leads to loyalty.


Digital marketing may be more challenging for businesses, but the need for businesses to be more human is becoming a necessity. By proving your brand cares about customers and delivering a personalised service you can honestly follow through, you can successfully grow your brand in a way that retains clientele and ensures your year on year profits continue to improve.