Market Business News explains that marketing is “the activities of a business related to buying and selling a product or service. It involves finding out what consumers want and determining whether it is possible to produce it at the right price.” Additionally, marketing allows for the introduction and promotion of a service or a product to any potential customers. Considering a business revolves around its customers, without (successful) marketing, the business will fail.
Modern marketing focuses on engaging with customers on an emotional level by building trust, telling meaningful stories and showcasing the human side of a brand.
Human vs. non-human interactions
In the realm of chatbots, instant messaging, social media and artificial intelligence, most interactions can be done without ever talking to a human.
Interactions between the brand and its customers can be human or non-human. Non-human interaction refers to when customers search for information on the web or visit a website as opposed to human interaction, where the customer meets with a sales rep. Alternatively, online forums and webinars are also considered human interactions.
For brands to be successful, they must put their customers and employees and the core of their marketing strategy. For a business to show its human side, they can apply the following strategies:
- One of the best ways to show the human side of a brand is to focus on the people who work there. An important part of telling a brand’s story is showcasing the personalities of those who help to make the business successful. This not only gives the business a face, it also builds employee morale by making them feel valued. To do this, publicly acknowledge an employee’s work on social media and be sure to tag them in the post.
- Provide customers with an opportunity to engage with the brand on a personal level, share their opinions and provide feedback. Create polls on social media and ask customers to weigh in.
- Give customers a “behind the scenes” look at the business. This allows customers to feel like they are part of the team. They will also get a better idea of the brand’s culture and whether or not its values are in line with their own. Post videos and photos of company events on social media and go live during special business events.
- Ensure that your online interactions with customers are of the same quality as the face-to-face conversations. This means consistent messaging, staying true to the brand’s values and keeping promises. If a brand takes pride in its speed and efficiency, be sure to respond to phone calls, emails and social media messages in a timely manner.
- Lastly, nothing says “human” like making a mistake. As a brand, by admitting to any mistakes you might make, your customers will have more respect for the business. You can either make a sincere apology on social media or if your mistake has a humorous tone to it, find the humour and laugh off your mistakes alongside your customers.
Why human interaction trumps digital ones
According to Retail Dive, “70% consumers surveyed about their customer service preferences said they would rather speak to a human customer service representative than engage with a digital customer service rep or chatbot”.
Every interaction a customer has with a brand is a form of customer experience that, if handled correctly, can boost brand awareness and engagement. Automated responses are often limited so, especially when trying to report a specific problem, customers prefer speaking to a person from the start to resolve the problem as soon as possible.