Advanced technologies provide marketers with more opportunities than ever before. Marketers can reach consumers in new ways, display targeted ads online in seconds and collect massive amounts of data to evaluate success. Technology has certainly changed digital marketing but software, algorithms and bots can’t do it all. In fact, technology shouldn’t do it all. Marketing still requires a human touch, particularly in high-touch marketing situations where dependence is often focused on a small number of high-value consumers.
How humans improve the marketing process
There has been a lot of praise for technological advances in digital marketing but less for the humans involved in the field. Here’s how the human touch improves digital marketing:
Create and maintain relationships
Technology can do a lot of things for marketers, including sometimes generating new clients. However, algorithms and data-crunching software can’t walk into an office and market products to a new client or meet an existing client for lunch to maintain customer satisfaction. Marketing is still based on personal relationships, and that’s something no piece of technology can build.
Level of trust
In time, relationships evolve to trusted relationships. Marketers work for years developing relationships through face-to-face meetings and personalized phone calls. When a high level of trust is achieved, consumers become loyal repeat customers. By cultivating relationships, consumers are more likely to reward a brand by exclusively shopping through their company.
Provide a face someone can relate to
Consumers want to buy from people, not brands or robotic entities. Decisions are based on emotions and relationships, and these require human interaction. Consumers need to know there’s a human side to a company, a side someone can relate to. Otherwise, marketing efforts, no matter how tech-savvy, will fail.
Listen to consumers
Technology can help define and target an audience but it can’t listen to it. It can’t read comments left on social media sites, respond to individual email complaints or understand how a particular marketing campaign comes across to consumers with diverse ethnic backgrounds. Listening is a human characteristic, and it’s vital to the success of marketing campaigns.
Big decisions are made based on data, but every once in a while there’s a glitch. The wrong box got checked or a segment of consumers wasn’t calculated in the data. It happens. When something seems off or doesn’t correspond with known trends, marketers can spot the anomaly. Based on experience in the field, humans can catch mistakes when data are heavily relied upon.
See the whole picture
In an effort to make the most of technology and the data it can provide, sometimes a campaign becomes too focused on narrow data points. Marketers are needed to step back and look at the whole picture. They can use their real-world experience to make sure the overall goal of the campaign isn’t deterred by a spreadsheet of numbers.
While technology allows marketers to explore new avenues, the human touch can’t be overlooked. The two must work in concert. While the line between what humans can do and what technology can do sometimes blurs, each has a place in digital marketing. When the two join forces, the positive outcomes can only increase.