The profound evolution of digital technology has changed the way we create, market, sell, distribute and consume products and services.
As marketers, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that we’re living and operating in an increasingly digital world. Digital marketing tools like email and social media, and technologies like automation and artificial intelligence (AI), are creating unparalleled opportunities for marketers to reach a wider audience, scale their communication and gather customer data.
However, as the digital marketing landscape matures, many marketers have reached the point where they’ve invested in so many different solutions and technologies that they’re struggling to implement these in a cohesive way. A fragmented environment, where systems don’t talk to each other and data sets are disconnected, makes it challenging for sales and marketing functions to align their customer engagement strategies and create a consistent customer experience.
What is more, the rapid development of smart technologies has led to many businesses abandoning tried-and-tested techniques in favour of shiny new tools, often without the skills to apply them well or a complete understanding of their value in the marketing mix. And, as we all know, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.
Dealing with the digital downpour
As our dependence on technology grows, customers cannot escape from the onslaught of digitally-delivered marketing messages. This creates an environment where many people have begun to crave interactions that are personal and genuine.
All of these factors have led to customers wanting more authenticity in their interactions with brands and businesses. After all: customers – whether B2B or B2C – are human; and they therefore have an innate need to create personal and emotional connections with the brands they invest in. Relationship building has always been at the heart of marketing; and this will never change. In an environment driven by digital processes, human to human interaction has greater potential than ever to make an impact and create exceptional customer experiences that stand out.
Let’s get real
While technology can certainly make it a lot easier to reach customers and keep the lines of communication open, purely digital transactions are not enough. Marketers still need to use traditional – or “analogue” – communication channels, such as live events and phone conversations, to connect with customers on a more personal and human level, in order to build stronger relationships with these individuals.
Analogue communication channels can add the authenticity that’s missing from purely digital communications. When you’re chatting to a customer over the phone, for example, you can engage this human being in a genuine dialogue and show a side of your brand that is empathetic and authentically interested in that customer as an individual. This will create a much more powerful connection than an automated ad served up on their device.
In fact, one key marketing trend for 2019, according to Forbes (1), is a return to basics or traditional marketing tactics in order to cut through all the digital noise. Human touches, such as welcome calls as part of a new customer onboarding process, have become so refreshing that they really make your brand stand out.
But it’s not about choosing one approach over the other
Both digital and analogue channels have their own unique strengths in a modern B2B marketing strategy. Marketers should therefore aim to combine the best of both to truly make an impact.
Visionary businesses are exploring ways in which humans and technology can work symbiotically to create new opportunities for businesses, their employees and their customers. Rather than replacing human-led marketing techniques with digitally-led processes, companies can find ways to be more sensitive and intelligent about the way that they integrate technology into their operations and customer relationship building strategies (or the other way around).
This is a way to stay relevant and create disruptive customer experiences – which are disruptive and innovative because they’re leveraging both the power of technology and the power of the human connection.
It's all about striking the right balance between analogue and digital channels; and using them together in an impactful way. For example, analogue channels allow for more personal interactions, but the ability to personalise efficiently and at scale is only possible when these channels are supported by digital tools like automation, predictive analytics and AI.
That is why some B2B marketers are using intent data and predictive scoring to target new prospects and expand their access to new segments. Once these prospects have been identified, marketers can then use analogue channels like phone contact to build rapport and gather insights that can create a stronger and more authentic connection with each individual customer.
The real prize is for those businesses that are successful in orchestrating a cohesive marketing approach across all channels, using both new technologies and traditional approaches to the best effect.
How to use analogue approaches strategically
At its very core, analogue marketing is about relationship building. One channel that offers this benefit in a way that can be easily integrated into the digital world, is telemarketing.
Here’s the value that voice contact can add to the mix:
- Gain deeper customer insights:
Voice is one analogue touchpoint that enables you to understand what drives your customers emotionally. In other words: not just how they behave, but how they feel. A mix of data-driven analytics (drawing on user behaviour, survey results, social media comments and so forth) and human interaction with customers (where you converse with them and build rapport to truly understand their emotional motivations) can help you to build a more three-dimensional picture of each customer. This allows you to keep on deepening your connection and broadening your understanding. As a result, you’re better positioned to target your customer with relevant messaging and value propositions as your business relationship develops.
- Flexibility and ease of integration:
If you’re going for the omnichannel approach, it’s essential to incorporate agile channels into the mix, such as voice contact, which is highly flexible and can easily integrate and support other channels. This is important in a digital world where technologies are emerging at breakneck speed. You can use voice contact to build a bridge between a range of digital tools, creating a more cohesive customer journey and experience.
- Ideal for complex or high-value interactions:
As mentioned, it’s best to play to the strengths of each channel. Ideally, an analogue channel such as voice contact is perfect for connecting with higher value prospects at important points in the customer lifecycle. For example, where AI has identified a list of companies with a high statistical likelihood of having a need for a particular product or service, a phone call can identify the decision makers within that business and present a tailored proposition to that individual, initiating a personal relationship. These individuals may not be available on any marketing list and, as senior people, are less likely to respond to an email approach. Phone contact targeted a set of high value accounts can not only identify key decision makers but feed invaluable insight into your Account Based Marketing strategy.
- Create the emotional connection:
While it offers myriad benefits, one of the key reasons to use voice contact is to establish an emotional connection with each customer. A phone conversation between two human beings makes the customer experience more personal, creating a foundation for trust and loyalty. A meaningful connection of this type is particularly valuable in the current environment, where the overuse of technology has been creating a barrier between businesses and their customers.
Keeping the connection alive
The shift towards creating a more symbiotic relationship between analogue and digital marketing techniques echoes the blurring of boundaries between the digital and physical worlds that we are seeing in all aspects of our work and personal lives – as we become increasingly reliant on our smartphones and we begin to adopt technologies like augmented reality, AI and more.
In our increasingly digital world, analogue marketing methods have a unique role to play in keeping the human connection between brands and customers alive. These traditional channels enable real, genuine, human-to-human interactions – which are not only refreshing, but also incredibly powerful – because all customers are human, and you need to appeal to both their minds and their hearts if you want to earn their trust and loyalty.
Sometimes, a customer just wants to speak to a real person!
To find out how we can help integrate the human touch within your sales marketing strategy, get in touch today.