Human to Human Marketing

Whether your product or service is for a business or direct to consumer, you’re ultimately selling to a decision maker that is human.

In the past mass advertising worked because companies could simply pay to get in front of  millions or hundreds of thousands of people with TV commercial or radio ads, of course they still can but the effectiveness of these types of ads has seen a rapid decline.

Today there is so much clutter and we are inundated with brand messaging to the point where it simply doesn’t penetrate our over stimulated brains. We see it, but we don’t really absorb it. As businesses owners we have to work so much harder to get noticed, we need to create a culture to stand out.

But the good news is you don’t actually need to reach hundreds of thousands or millions of people to be successful what you need is a group of engaged fans. Mass marketing where a company can become a household name still is possible but not very likely, and it will require  a 7 figure marketing budget. But that’s ok! You can still be a millionaire without being known by millions. In fact most multi-million dollar companies in North America are actually recognizable to less than 1% of the population.

The biggest mistake you can make is to try and sell or try to advertise to everyone, in fact the more you can narrowly define your market the easier it is to make a product that specifically meets their needs without having to compete solely on price.

So how do we market to these smaller (but still very profitable) niche audiences?

By treating our customers like individuals with human to human marketing. When you create content or ads or brand messaging writing as if you’re talking to a singular H. Not as a target persona, but as a human being with hopes and dreams, problems and emotions.

Have We Relinquished Our Humanity for Technology?

On any given day you will see an article or news clip about the buzz that is happening right now in the tech landscape. From artificial intelligence (AI) to bots and machine learning, today’s innovations are leading to more automation and less human interaction.

Will advancing technology make marketing even easier? Most likely. Does this automation run smack up against what consumers want – to experience real human and authentic interactions? You bet.

While brands are doing their best to dazzle their customers with new tech services, a report by the voice platform Usabilla called “In the Age of Automation, Customers Want More Human, Less Machine,” found that consumers do not want machines to replace humans. According to the study, when faced with a phone tree, 73% of consumers skip the maze and press “0” to be connected with a real, live human being.

When asked for the reason they would choose a human over a chatbot, the top reason given by 43% of respondents was, “I want to connect with a real human who can understand my problem.”

So to recap:

Consumers don’t want to be seen as a “C” or part of a “B”, they want to be seen as an “H” – a real live human.

They would also rather interact with other “Hs” instead of technology.

That would mean that B2B and B2C marketing are out. The future of marketing is H2H.

Since you can’t automate authentic interactions, it’s time to start focusing on delivering a personalized and empathetic customer experience that adds value at each touchpoint. Here’s how you can get started:

Really Dive Deep to Get to Know Your Customer

Your customers want to be known and understood by you. Human to human marketing starts with becoming an expert in knowing your customer. Let me be clear, this goes way beyond uncovering some demographic data such as age, income and educational background.

Human to human marketing is about walking in your customers’ shoes. What is it like to be them? What problems and fears do they have and how can you genuinely help? Forget selling, today’s brands have got to completely understand the market they are serving.

Humanize Your Brand

Once you know the humans your company serves, it’s time to humanize your company. You must begin at the foundational level and create a culture of authenticity. H2H marketing is all about shifting your mindset. There are no special or secret strategies or marketing techniques involved. The strategy is, “Be Human and genuinely help other Humans.”

That’s the “secret.”

This mindset must reverberate throughout the entire company, from marketing to sales to IT and customer service. Encourage staff and employees to think less on an “intellectual” level and more on an emotional level so your brand can truly empathize with your customers instead of shoving automated responses down their throats. Empower your staff to make decisions based off the individual situation rather than just your customer service policy.

Tell a Story

Consumers (AKA human beings) don’t want to interact with messaging that seems as if it were generated by robots. People want to feel something. If you can make your audience feel something, you have a much better chance at making them a customer for life.

Tell stories about your brand and tell stories about your customers. Storytelling is H2H at its best. Then use paid advertising as a tool to boost these stories on a carefully researched platform where your customers hang out.

Have Fun

The mere idea of H2H marketing should absolutely liberate you. This is good news, so start having some fun.

While you may have had to learn other new marketing tactics and strategies in the past, this isn’t really the case here. You don’t have to learn so much as remember. You already know how to be a human being. You know what it’s like to have feelings and problems. For all intents and purposes, you are a genius at this marketing method. So have a positive attitude and have as much fun as you can interacting with your customer base.

Admit Your Mistakes

The thing about being an “H” is that all “Hs” make mistakes, so when you do, simply own up to it. Whether your website was down for an hour or you sent the wrong email or made a social media blunder, don’t hide from it, don’t become defensive, just be honest about it, apologize and move on. Your customers don’t want perfection from you, they want authenticity.

Hopefully these tips will help you start to think about your business and customers in a whole new way. If you keep these points in mind, your customers will appreciate it and you may even find you have more fun – and success – with your marketing efforts.

If you have a question or comment about this blog or any of my blogs reach out to me on social media. I hang out on Instagram.