The Importance of Human Connection in Marketing

The Importance of Human Connection in Marketing

Steve Underwood August 10, 2021

Technology needs to support, and not replace, connection with people and the marketing strategy.

The increasing narrative and focus on software and technology in our fast paced digital world has led to the people focus of good marketing to be devalued. In competitive environments, where brands are competing for the attention of the same audiences, technology alone can not create sector leading marketing strategies and results – effective audience connection is critical.

Strategy not spreadsheets

A CMO should be focused on marketing strategy not spreadsheets and last click conversion metrics. As marketers we’ve become too obsessed with short term, tactical gains – deflecting the importance we should be placing on the fundamentals of business success – customer centricity.

Technology and software need to support not replace the marketing strategy; increasing the focus on technology is not going to work if we forget the importance of creating engaging customer connection.

Too many senior marketers have fallen foul to challenging environments, where they are asked to demonstrate consistent incremental return on investment gains, over short periods of time – often to the detriment of investing in building brand, connecting to new audiences and building more meaningful connections.

In increasingly commoditised environments, where marketing is relied upon to drive short term measurable results, the true value of marketing is being lost.

The process of connecting effectively to audiences and creating intrigue, excitement, interest and wonder is being diluted through the distraction of a granular measurement culture – that itself is often misleading – and the exponential rise of technology and software that promises faster, more convenient results and an apparent resource cost saving.

Ultimately marketing is becoming a short term numbers game, to the detriment of everyone involved.

Marketing Silo’s

The exponential growth of digital and technology to deliver marketing activity has led to silo’s forming, both in house and in brand > supplier relationships.

It is reported that an average sized UK marketing team will use over 100 marketing software tools, many of which are operated in silos by individuals and teams.

The agency landscape is awash with ‘specialists’ that sell their own specific area of expertise, all claiming to deliver more value than the next – it’s little wonder clients struggle to know who to believe or trust.

These silo’s usually have limited understanding of the broader marketing strategy – often fuelled by their measurement of success being benchmarked against short term channel performance KPIs.

The increasing dominance of technology-led focus is damaging marketing practice and business performance; measurement of the value of marketing activity has become misleading and inconsistent; and companies now too often assume the solution to a marketing challenge should be software led.

Naturally cutting edge technology and software are exceptionally valuable in today’s digital first world, but the value of people and importance of connection are greater, and more important.

Brands that have a desire to succeed in their market, must address this balance correctly for the purpose of long term brand health and marketing effectiveness.

Technology and Connection

Technology can solve problems, create exceptional efficiency and help achieve strong business outcomes.

However technology can only take us so far, only truly connected brands can maximise performance.

Technology alone can’t capture customer’s attention, help businesses differentiate or instill a customer desire to purchase a product or service.

Buying decisions are inspired by emotions; people remember most how you make them feel – including great marketing messaging, emotive brand stories, customer service and centricity.

Tools and software are hugely important to all marketers in today’s digital world, but they should be positioned as supporting marketing strategy and not defining it.

Only true connection can deliver exceptional results, consistently. And ultimately this can only be achieved through human connection, often supported by software and tech, but always led by people.

1 Comment

  1. Glenn Smith says:

    A great article Steve – well worth a read. Thanks for sharing.

    The whole issue you are describing also reminds me of the difference between management and leadership.

    These days unfortunately, many businesses and organisations have slipped into management mode.

    They operate by driving people and controlling their performance. The focus is on the processes, the procedures etc. There’s too much emphasis on the numbers and KPIs.

    When this happens, the human connection gets forgotten – and here’s the thing – and it’s unquestionable – People are a company’s biggest asset.

    When it all becomes about management and there’s not enough focus on leadership, where’s the human side that inspires people to go above and beyond.

    Where’s the motivation?

    Where’s the ability for people to feel self worth, purpose and sense of fulfillment?

    When this is missing, individuals and company performance is held back.

    I’m with you 100% Human connection is vital and can’t be replaced.

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