Taking the Human Approach to Digital Marketing

December 8, 2015 Ben Heyworth

Its that magical time of year and the waters are being chummed in eager anticipation for the feeding frenzy that is the holiday rush. Your customers are however skipping the crowds, opting for pajamas in more familiar and comfortable settings and in increasing numbers.

Businesses evolved to adopt and later embrace digital marketing programs, it was done reluctantly, at first, as many didn’t understand or perceive the value in changing their way of doing business. The times changed, along with them attitudes, and habits. We became digital consumers, and there were generational shifts with different attitudes towards transacting online. For businesses, it extended their commercial reach by tapping new customers, new markets, at the speed of a mouse click. For all the connections made there was a human cost. E-mail subscribers quickly discovered their junk folders, shopping carts were abandoned, websites started looking all the same, with the same products and services they could get 9 other places and that’s just on the first page of the search engine results.

For all the time and money these businesses spent grabbing the attention of their online customers it became a game of clicks, impressions and keyword rankings. They began to factor in and build their sites for SEO, focusing on driving website traffic and toppling their competition in the search results, building the size of their list, conversion optimization became a thing and whatever new tactic they stumbled upon along the way became a priority. Marketing and promoting your brand through social media became a game of likes, follows, subscribes. At some point in time your customers attention span was cut in half, and it left you wondering where your investment went. You told them what to do, in fact you got right in their face to tell them how great you were, yet they wandered searching for a home and eventually gave up by picking the first thing they found 5 minutes earlier.

For all the carefully deployed digital marketing tactics these brand marketers used there was usually one critical component missing. They had forgotten that it wasn’t too long ago that the relationship between the brand and the customer was, despite the commercialism of the holiday season, a relationship of sorts. It involved making and sustaining a personal connection. A name meant something and there was human interaction with the brand.

Your customers desire a more personalized, and authentic experience with your brand especially over the holiday season. With everyone jockeying for a piece of action, their attention and their money, the last place they want to be is lost in the crowd. While many businesses find reason in continuing  to cast their nets wide in hopes of catching something, wouldn’t it be more effective if there was planning and method to its approach?      

The question you should ask is: how can we bring some humanity into our digital marketing approach? Why must it be impersonal if our purpose is making connections?    

Persona based targeting of your customers is a good place to start. Persona based targeting groups your customers by commonalities and shared interests, allowing you to personalize your messaging to them- while striking an emotional chord and demonstrating that your brand has made the effort to discover who they are and what they value. Persona based targeting is useful when developing and segmenting marketing lists, creating converting paid ads, developing engaging website content, and tailoring your e-mail marketing for different audiences. Localizing your messaging offers an added dimension of personalization.

It’s extremely easy for brands to lose their voice particularly with social media. Nothing is more frustrating when carefully curated, and placed marketing messages are buried in a news feed, notifications, or updates are invisible and unengaged.

The solution is simple, but it requires your active participation, and when channel partners are involved- the challenge is greater. First, more thought needs to go into social media. Approach social media in  a coordinated and organized approach such as using a content calendar. During the planning process,  time should be invested in creating a balanced approach of content categories.  You can further personalize the messaging by creating content designed for specific customer segments. Save time and post to social media groups/organizations that are already segmented with the customers you want to reach. Invest in technologies that automate this process. You can automate and personalize.

Your customers aren’t the only ones that require a personal approach to digital marketing. If you are working with channel partners they will need all the support and guidance you can provide them. Making the assumption that they will know how to use these programs from the onset can be risky move. They will appreciate and use the personalized support and guidance you provide for them, such as those found in a concierge program.

There shouldn’t be a digital wall between you and your customers. Digital marketing is just another door they use to discover and interact with your brand. When you personalize your approach they will gladly meet you on the other end.

Related Content: 
Email Marketing
Local Websites
Automated Marketing Programs
Data Triggered Programs
Online Store
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Dynamic Local Display
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About the Author

Ben Heyworth formerly served as Marketing and Sales Coordinator at SproutLoud.

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