What have Richard Branson, Rupert Murdoch, Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, Alan Sugar and the Queen all got in common. And what have they got in common with both your B2B customers and your B2C customers? They’re all human beings of course.
Yet our marketing communications do not always reflect this very important fact. We’re all guilty of using too much business jargon in our daily working lives – and those of us involved in marketing probably more than most. We’re constantly bombarded by an avalanche of information and deluged by data. In 2010, Google said that there is more content created every two days than in all of human history. More recently, IBM said that 90% of all today’s content has been created in the last two years. We’re swamped with emails, tweets, texts, alerts, photos, Facebook posts and bio-feedback data.
Sadly, the increase in information has gone hand-in-hand with a steady decline in customer trust and a reducing attention span.
So, it’s time to change your marketing to reflect today’s reality. Time to make it more human, more relevant and more meaningful.
Senior Vice President of Marketing at Cisco, Karen Walker says that a brand is really an emotional connection you have with a product or service and that marketers should be developing personalised relationships with their customers to boost their brands and sales. “It’s no longer about B2B or B2C – it’s about being human-to-human,” she said, “The first thing marketers must do to create that emotional bond with their customers is to realise that individuals, not companies, ultimately make purchase decisions.”
How do we start on this process of re-humanisation? Keeping things simple is a good start. We don’t conduct our face-to-face conversations in complex, jargon-laden language so why not let our natural voice be reflected in our marketing? In my experience, every organisation has its own personality, ethos or unique ideology. Let this come through in your marketing – make emotional connections through storytelling – always an effective way of communicating. Stories can be short, as on Twitter or a blog, or they can be visual, as on Instagram. And be honest, let your customers see that you’re human.
Get to know your customers. Listen to them and try to understand their aims and motivations — people do business with people they like and trust. And do things differently, by turning expectations on their head, you will stand out in an overcrowded marketplace. Forging deeper connections with your customers will improve marketing performance.
As the late and celebrated US poet and author, Maya Angelou, said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you make them feel.”