Technology is a driving force of marketing, and its role is poised to scale in the future, empowering marketers to create ever-more-personal experiences that connect consumers to brands and products.

A personalized approach is important for attracting and retaining customers, but what’s lost is the human connection. Instead of completely removing humans from the equation, incorporating human insights and creativity can improve how you act on the data and glean important insights to create more personalized experiences and a competitive edge.

Move past data

Organizations have access to more data than ever before. As new technologies capture and analyze data, the volume will only increase. Brands and marketers will have more and more information, giving them the vital data to create messaging that resonates with customers.

Unfortunately, data on its own is without context. No matter how much data we have, we still need humans in the mix to provide an intuitive touch.

Consumers are driven by a lot of different factors, even day-to-day issues, such as sleep quality, stress levels, mood and environment. As these factors fluctuate from one day to the next, they can dramatically impact purchasing decisions.

Data can’t account for these minutiae of details. There’s no registering context, mood or external factors that may impact the consumer. Data only provides basic information that humans must process and analyze.

Data may also be used as a bit of a crutch. When marketers have data at their disposal, they may learn to rely more on such tools than their own insights. Basically, now that they no longer need to seek the information, they can simply ignore their intuition or questions and rely on data alone.

Any marketing effort solely based on data that’s measurable and consistent isn’t taking any risks or testing the waters to connect with the customer in a real way. At best, it will hit for some customers and miss with others. At worst, it could lead to completely ineffective campaigns that come from flawed data, misconceptions or faulty assumptions.

Connect with humans–without the algorithms

Marketers should be data-informed, not data-driven. Here are four brand strategies to cultivate a human connection in marketing.

1. Optimization

Automation is an incredible tool for enhancing the customer experience. Customers can get the communication and assistance they need with tools like social media chatbots, automated messages or autoresponders, but don’t let that be the end of the conversation.

Humans need to participate somewhere in the communication loop. Technology can streamline efficiency and “screen” customers who are asking simple questions, such as with scripted chatbots. However, your customers should have a way to connect with a human being when they require more help.

2. Customer experience

Customers looking for personalization want relevant and valuable information, such as tailored product recommendations or created content that’s likely to interest them. If you’re not sure what they want, you could be sending out automated messages or content that misses the mark and fails to engage them.

Data offers baseline information to promote relevant content to customers, but it must be used effectively. Human insights should be applied to the data to ensure that customers enjoy the best possible brand experience.

3. Personalization

A lot of the focus seems to be on personalization as of late. Companies want to deliver personalized experiences, customers want personalized experiences, and the data is designed to provide the information necessary to make it happen.

As the market gets more and more competitive, all companies need to amp-up personalization with human insights. Personalization efforts should be contextualized and tailored to the customer, rather than being left to automation or algorithms.

4. Customer feedback

Customer feedback is a valuable type of data for improving marketing efforts and customer experience. Though customers may not be eager to give out this information, especially in a formal survey or focus group, a little incentive can go a long way for encouragement. Consider how you might incentivize your customers with offers, including exclusive content, discount codes, sneak peeks or early access to products in development.

It’s also critical to do something with the feedback you receive. Though you can’t respond to every single request or complaint, when customers see that feedback is being implemented, it encourages them to continue providing it.

Foster a human connection

Technology plays a critical role in business and marketing, especially for improving processes and streamlining efficiency, but that could come at the cost of the humanity of your brand. No matter how much technology is used, it’s important that you keep the human connection at the core of your marketing. 

Contributed to EO by Kyle Johnston, a founding partner and the president of Gigasavvy, an award-winning brand, content creation and creative agency.

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PR/MARKETING Technology

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