Making Marketing Human Again

February 3, 2022

There is a fine line between what my daughter likes and what my daughter loves.

She likes a bath. But she loves a bath with water crayons. 

She likes chicken nuggets. But she loves chicken nuggets dipped in hummus. (don't ask)

What does this have to do with marketing? Well, as a Marketing Director, my brain doesn't operate from 9 to 5. I can find a marketing message in almost anything I encounter. So what did I encounter with my toddler today that I felt deserved some attention in the marketing arena? Magnatiles. Little shapes with magnets attached to construct anything her 2-year old heart can imagine. 

She likes building houses with magnatiles. She loves building with magnatiles when I add a person to live in the house she's created. With a bed and a tissue blanket. 

And why is that? Because I made it more relatable. I made it more warm. I made it more human. 

With all the talk of metaverses and AI and automation, it's vital to remember that whatever product or service we are selling or marketing, we're doing that for humans. Our clients are humans. Our object is to convert humans to buy into their product or service. So that should trigger some reminders:

1. To find common ground with your clients and with your audiences. We market in agriculture, but not all of us are farmers. So how do we know how to communicate to them and with them? We do just that. We communicate. With our farmers on staff or with our clients - we ask questions and clear our minds to listen, appreciate, find common ground, and then brainstorm. Yes, there are questions about goals, objectives, data and that's also important to know when you're wanting results but the main question for anyone involved in marketing campaigns is WHY: 'why do you do what you do', 'why should I work with you', 'why should I do business with you over someone else who is closer, cheaper, more experienced? (fill in the blank). 

2. To literally add humans to your marketing and customer experience. It's best practices to have people in your ads, your billboards, even your radio spots (not a VO but a real customer or character). Of course there are always exceptions, but most everyone has a competitor - or eighty - in their market so if your product is as good as my product, what's going to separate me? Real humans. Testimonials, user-generated content, a real person answering my call or text or email (check out State Farm's commercials). Especially now, people are missing community and connection and if your brand can provide that feeling and attach to a product or service, you not only have a new customer, you have a repeat customer who turns into your brand ambassador. 

3. Develop relationships. My main job is to care about your results, the success of my team and your sales. I like numbers. That's easy for me. What I had to work at as a manager was remembering that my clients and my teams were more than just the few hours a day they spent with me. They are whole people with needs outside hearing my speeches on profitability margins or click-through-rates. So I dug in to whatever layer people were comfortable sharing with me. I've spent time with some of my clients' children when they weren't feeling well. We've exchanged puppy pictures. We send each other get-well baskets and throw baby showers and arrive to conferences early just to get a coffee together. We have clients that started with us a decade ago and are still with us because yes, we bring results, but also yes, we care about them, not just the pieces we experience from 9 to 5.

Written by Alex Hanes
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