Most of us have seen movies where robot take over such as The Matrix and The Terminator. But it wasn’t those movies that freaked me out about robots, it is the fact I received 5 robocalls in 5 minutes early that day. It is not uncommon these days to get text messages from robots telling you to vote for a candidate or to sell you some sort of scam. And it does not just stop at the robot calls. They follow me, website to website, with the exact products I just happen to be browsing through a couple of seconds ago. Technology has given us the ability to track people so well that some software is adapting the ability to predict your behavior. And while I will discuss machine learning and its influence on marketing in a separate post, I want to focus on the importance of providing a human touch in an age that is so focused on technology.
“Over two-thirds of your marketing is done without you.”
Author of ‘Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins”, Mark Schaefer explains how people are not looking to companies to tell them what they need. Instead, they are relying on strangers to provide them that information, because we seem to trust strangers more than we trust companies. We let strangers drive us to the airport, stay in a stranger’s house, and even use an app to meet strangers. This isn’t a bad thing though. It shows us that humans trust humans. It has been like this since our existence. One of the best strategies of marketing is word of mouth. You trust what someone’s review or opinion is on a product rather than listening to the company tell you how great it is through a series of commercial ads.
In the past consumers were drawn in by flashy gimmicks of how amazing a product was and all the cool tricks it could do. The simple fact is that most consumers don’t care about that anymore. When selling a product they aren’t looking for the flashy features, they care about who is making those products and the values the company practices.
“The focus has been on technology, not people”
Schaefer exclaimed. “Marketing is now about their (the customers) story.” What humans crave more than the basic needs of food, water, and rest is human connection and understanding. The best way to achieve this is by sharing our human emotions. We all feel them and experience them in our day-to-day lives so what not sell to those needs.
A great example that Mark Schaefer used is the ‘Question Madness’ campaign that North Face did two years ago. The two-minute video only uses two sentences that are said in the very beginning and it isn’t North Face explaining how versatile their new heritage ski jacket is in extremely cold temperatures.
They used people’s personal stories and videos that captured their hardships and accomplishments. When these videos were put together it told a story of a community of people who go beyond the boundaries and test the human limit. What some people call madness, they call pioneering.
Instead of focusing on one of their many amazing products, North Face just established itself as the brand that will support you when you want to achieve the impossible. They did a great job of letting their consumers tell their story and in turn, invited like-minded individuals to join this community of people that question madness and always go above and beyond. By selling the value of the company, consumers can trust that any of North Face’s products will be top quality, not just one jacket they are trying to sell out.
This new age of marketing is turning away from the traditional marketing methods of a company pushing a product to its customers and shifting it to a conversation between company and consumer. It is time companies listen to their consumers and let them share their stories. You will quickly see how it will transform your brand, business, and growth.
In a world full of machines and technology it is the most human company that will win.