With the rise of digital channels and platforms, there are more marketing technology solutions available than ever before. According to Scott Brinker's annual #MarTech landscape, there were more than 5,000 software solutions available for marketers in 2017.

But all this marketing technology is nothing without a strategy. Ultimately, a marketer's goal is to increase sales and drive customer retention.

What's interesting about this intersection of marketing and technology is how machine learning is giving marketers more insights into what people are doing and searching. Despite the proliferation of software tools, I firmly believe there's a shift back to the good old days of personalization at a 1:1 level.

Again, the biggest challenge is aligning new technology with your marketing strategy to connect with the people you want to buy from your company. If you're a CMO, you need to consider how this technology is going to help drive engagement at each stage of the buyer's journey and customer experience. Adding a new tool isn't useful unless you know how it will work to drive new revenue.

At the end of the day, regardless of whether you're in marketing for a business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) organization, it's about creating human-to-human (H2H) connections.

Even if you're selling on eCommerce, it's a human on the other side of the computer writing marketing copy convincing another human to buy something. Until the rise of the robot overlords, people buy from other people. 

Here are six reasons why I believe the future of marketing is H2H.

1. "Engagement is the new form fill."

This is a quote from Kristen Wendel, one of the smartest women working in digital marketing operations today. For marketers, we know that not everyone who fills out a form on our website is going to buy from our company. Less than 1% of leads ever become revenue-generating customers.

With H2H, engagement is a better way to measure success to see if the right people matching your ideal customer profile are interested in your company's offering.Look beyond a form fill or content download and use the data in your customer relationship management (CRM) tool to find other touch points of engagement.

2. Quality is more important than quantity

Tracking meaningful conversations is much more important than the number of cold calls and email blasts your team does every week. The future of H2H focuses on new ways to get in front of your target buyer. 

Instead of having sales reps leave countless voicemails for prospects, there are a ton of marketing technology solutions to leave a personalized message. Two of my favorite tools are Vidyard for 1:1 videos and Drift for online chat. Our sales team at my company, Terminus, has found tons of success for reaching the right people in target account using these tools. 

3. Marketing is now omnichannel

Your buyer isn't just on one channel anymore. Back in the day, it was all about email. Now for personalization at scale, it's a combination of email, targeted advertising, and direct mail. Especially if you're selling to multiple people in the same organization, it's about taking an account-based marketing (ABM) approach. Don't assume that only one channel will work for your campaign.

4. Your future customers come from a community

Across an array of industries, there's a focus on building a community of like-minded individuals. Your community will be bigger than your current customer base, and the more humans that are part of that community, the more opportunities you'll create for marketing and sales. 

5. A renewed focus on storytelling

With H2H marketing, it's about creating a compelling narrative, a story that people will actually care about. It's extremely rare to get people to care about your brand unless you already have a certain amount of prestige associated with your company. Crafting a story that makes people care about what you're selling will have a much stronger impact.

6. Become the trusted advisor

In the modern digital world, it's so difficult for a salesperson to break through the noise. To truly make a connection, salespeople have to assume the role of a consultant or trusted advisor. Marketers can support sales by serving up content-;e-books, white papers, webinars, blogs, you name it-;to help create thought leadership for the brand.

I can't stress enough how important it is to connect with your potential customers, prospects, and opportunities so they care about what your company has to offer.

At the end of the day, nobody likes to buy from a company: people buy from people. Your customers don't care whether you're in marketing or sales, but they care if you can help solve the problem they have. 

We're all humans, and none of us is perfect. The least we can do is help each other. It goes beyond marketing; it's about caring.

 

Lessons on Marketing Your Business from the Inc. 500
Published on: Jan 17, 2018