Importance of a Human Touch in Marketing

“Companies will find greater long-term success in their marketing efforts if they root their strategic plans and tactics in being more human and understanding human nature and behaviour,” – Aliza Sherman

The art and science of marketing is critical to every modern business enterprise because marketing attracts customers, deepens customer interactions, drives sales, helps businesses to sustain operations, and enables commerce to achieve the desired business outcomes. In the modern world, the heavy use of technology and technology-driven marketing channels has re-defined marketing practices in tune with the changing business landscape. We find that commerce is locked in a deep embrace with technology and appears married to technology-driven channels. We could say that modern electronic technologies have emerged as a pervasive handmaiden deployed by most businesses in a bid to attain business goals in crowded, competitive markets. However, we must never underestimate the power of the human touch in marketing practices to drive business outcomes and to establish business practices and reputations beyond the ordinary. The involvement of human beings and human-driven processes in marketing practices is important to drive intimacy levels with customers; therefore, every business must work to reinforce this aspect in its marketing operations.

The importance of cultivating relationships combined with the ability to communicate with clients and customers remain critical lynchpins in the marketing domain. The salesperson of a business enterprise has innumerable statistics at his or her disposal, but the individual must be able to connect with clients and customers at a human level in order to set the stage for a meaningful business relationship. This attitude has the potential to emerge as a critical tool in modern business environments, typified as these are by impersonal and technology-driven modes of operation. In this context, we must note that the human touch can boost the customer’s experience through using human intuition, the active deployment of human business experience, and the marshalling of person-to-person selling techniques. This approach may be deemed priceless because it can make a stellar contribution that enables the overall enterprise to achieve outstanding business outcomes.

We must examine certain aspects of the overtly technology-driven sales and marketing approach deployed by most businesses in order to gain a fine appreciation of the critical influence that the human touch can bring to bear in modern business transactions. Most businesses tend to favour a technology-driven approach to sales and marketing because this strategy helps them to connect with a large customer base in a sharply cost efficient manner. Per se, we may not find anything amiss with this strategy, but the fact remains that this approach totally excises the human touch from modern business processes. The mechanistic approach to marketing new products and services to customers manifests itself in technologies such as mass email blasts, automated telephone-driven sales spiels, robo-calls, interactive voice response technologies deployed in customer care call centres, machine and software drive customer behaviour analysis, automated teller machines, and self-service kiosks, among others. We must note that these technologies enable massive customer outreach but blank out the human aspect in conducting business. This lack of human interaction emerges as the critical missing link that mars the technology-driven approach to marketing, often resulting in lost business opportunities, gaps in market insight, reduced visibility in terms of evolving customer behaviour, and the emergence of conjecture as an operating element (as opposed to plain facts), among others.

Traditional business practices emphasise the human touch, wherein, a business takes the initiative to commence a conversation with customers. The ensuing two-way dialogue lays the foundation for future business transactions. We may state that the dynamics of the modern mass market make the use of technology indispensable, but the use of technology could easily be melded with the human touch. For instance, an e-commerce business operator may put in place technologies that help the business to detect finicky customers that are unable to arrive at a purchase decision. This technology can alert the business to the above situation and consequently, a human representative can be deployed to get in touch with said customers. The sales person can use his or her knowledge of the company’s products and services to guide the customer into a balanced purchase decision. We must note that the human touch is critical in such situations because it can help to convert indecisive customers to paying clients and thus enhance the customer base of said business. In addition, the human intervention may subsequently prompt the customer to pen a positive product or service review in favour of the said e-commerce enterprise; such actions usually have the effect of attracting new customers to a business. This case emphatically underlines the important role of the human touch in conducting modern business operations.

In a similar vein, the massive modern supermarkets (brick-and-mortar enterprises that have operations in most countries) can enable a hybrid approach to marketing operations. This can combine the efficient deployment of technology to guide customers through supermarket aisles, while providing human sales personnel to explain the attributes of the many classes of merchandise to visitors and shoppers. The human touch also enables the business to introduce customers to new products and services through a personal interface, while converting first time customers to long term business assets. This approach assures customers of all hues that the business is offering human assistance and conveys the impression that the enterprise is keen to operate beyond the confines of a purely dollars-and-cents approach to business operations.

A personal approach to marketing helps businesses to develop a keen human point of view in business operations. This remains important in modern enterprises because it helps each customer and client to feel that they are an important presence in business operations. The human touch assumes even more significance when we realise the outsize gains in terms of customer feedback that can accrue to an enterprise that practices the personal approach. For instance, a software manufacturer can choose to automate certain aspects of its sales and marketing operations while injecting the human element at critical junctures of said operations. The manufacturer can humanise the feedback gathering procedures instead of relying on dour electronic forms and web-links embedded in emails. The human aspect should help elicit a deeper response from customers and can help the business to resonate with customers. The long term impact of such business policies can be seen in higher volumes of repeat customers, greater customer satisfaction, and an enduring business reputation built on solid ethical values.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have surveyed the importance of conducting business with the human touch. We must note that every business has a responsibility to serve its clients and customers; every business also remains answerable to key stakeholders in terms of business performance. Both of these constituents are primarily human entities and therefore the business enterprise should invest significant effort in creating and nurturing its human face. Business strategists and corporate chieftains alike must realise that mere technology can never be a value differentiator and the human touch remains indispensable at all times. The human aspect of conducting business assumes more significance because it can emerge as a competitive edge in modern markets. In addition, the human touch can impart significant momentum to an enterprise in the achievement of long-term performance business goals.

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