It’s no mystery we live in a high-tech age. Technology continues to reinvent itself and, to use Eric Reis’ phrase, “It’s not a matter of if it can be built, it’s a matter of should it?” We live in a time where the battle for our attention gets tiring. Everyday a new channel, application or social network is launched with a mission to make it “easier or better” for us to consume content of all types.
This presents new challenges for companies trying to find, reach and earn the attention of their customers. It’s the first time in the history of commerce that many screens and mediums are in constant use, simultaneously. We’ve already seen the reports of second screen use.
The answer of course, is for businesses to use technology to build high-touch marketing. High-touch marketing focuses on earning the trust and attention of its customers long-term. Customers want to know there are people behind the technology and not just ones and zeros because at the heart of every transaction is trust.
Here are four ways you can build high-touch marketing:
1. Improve culture.
High-touch marketing is a philosophy born out of having a high-touch business culture. We believe an organization’s culture is at the root of being a high-touch business whose actions and attitudes are manifested in high-touch marketing. The principles below can only be authentic if they are true about the company executing them. A company can’t be something its not.
Culture defines expectations and accountability for each employee in an organization. It also provides a filter through which all decisions should be made. This foundation unifies your team around your core beliefs and values.
Improving your culture or changing it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s built over time. Jason Fried says, “You don’t create a culture. Culture happens. It’s the by-product of consistent behavior.” Let high-touch marketing happen this way too, as a byproduct of high-touch business.
Again, culture isn’t manufactured, but it helps if your team spends time learning about each other’s non-work related interests. The funny thing customers and coworkers have in common is they’re both human. When you hit on shared interests or life experiences, stronger bonds are formed.
- Create a means for everyone to know what everyone else is working on. You’re all in this together.
Hundreds of companies offer services to track data and analytics across all channels online and offline to give you insights into the likes, shares, and other vanity metrics. Instead of focusing on these, work towards making a deposit into the “trust account” of your customers.
Every interaction you have with a potential customer (online or offline) either makes a deposit or withdrawal into their trust account. Deposits are made by keeping your promises and through human interactions like recognition, going the extra mile, being helpful and other actions that bring delight. Conversely, withdrawals occur when you break promises, interrupt, spam, act weird or provide poor service.
Think about this every time a person comes into contact with your company’s product, service and communications. Disney’s “moment of wow” is a good example of this. They constantly look through the lens of their customer to ensure every experience, down to the smallest detail, adds up to a huge wow.
1. Write down on paper every interaction customers or potential customers have with your brand. Add a plus for deposits and a minus for withdrawals next to each interaction. Tally the scores and set a benchmark. Look for trends in certain tactics or channels. You will find areas that are bright spots and others where “leaks” may occur.
3. Build relationships
The market is more fragmented than ever. And high-tech makes it easy to think in terms of single conversions and what’s happening right now. This is only part of the equation. High-touch marketing looks at the long-term value of the right customers. Sometimes this means not trying to get the sale, but rather moving the relationship one step forward and doing what’s best for the customer. Think about courtship vs. dating. The dating mentality is usually short-term while courting requires one to consider a lifetime relationship.
Like anything valuable, building relationships takes time and communication. High-touch marketing businesses understand this and put forth the effort to get to know their audience. Personas, surveys, listening and other means of communication show your customers you care. Even if they are a one-time buyer, they want to be treated like a customer for life.
1. Update (or create for the first time) customer personas. Anytime you build a relationship with someone it’s good to know who they are, what they do, how they think and what motivates them.
2. Send surveys. When was the last time you surveyed your customers for their benefit? Ask them questions that show them you care, not just demographic information.
4. Capture their hearts
Marketing is emotional. All information is received through the heart. This truth is why benefits always sell better than features. People do want to know what your product or service can do, but customers buy because it provides them with a solution to a problem or the fulfillment of a need.
High-touch marketing goes beyond feature lists and gets to the core of “how” this satisfies the customer’s desires. It’s about what’s in it for them. It’s emotional and wins their heart.
1. Map authentic benefits to every feature your product or service contains. Answer two questions, “why” is the feature there and “how” does it satisfy the customer’s desires. Make sure each benefit has an emotional root.
In closing, don’t think we are against technology. Digital tools and software have enabled
us to build marketing practices that reach people all over the world who care about our products and services. High-touch marketing is no longer restricted to physical space or proximity. The key is to use technology to earn more attention and build deeper relationships. Look for ways to use your technologies to enhance your ability to interact with your customers and prospects.