For Humanity’s Sake: 5 Ways to Make Your Marketing More Human

Published: February 5, 2016

Emily Wingrove headshotHuman-to-human (H2H) isn’t a wildly new concept — it was created by Bryan Kramer in 2014. However, it’s only now becoming an emerging theme in the B2B space, and since the day I dug into what H2H is really all about, my thoughts about marketing have forever changed.

In B2B marketing, I have always been taught that the marketing department is where things go to get ‘prettied-up’; where an idea is turned into marketing-speak and transformed into calculated jargon in an effort to reach and compel a business. The problem with this is that we don’t sell to businesses — we sell to people. And we, the marketers and sales reps, are also people. Therefore, our messaging, voice and overall approach should all reflect that…in everything that we do.

It certainly isn’t an easy task to overhaul all of your marketing messaging to have a more human approach, but it is absolutely critical to your business and bottom line. I do believe though, that when you see the ‘light’, the urgency becomes very real, and the process of becoming more human is a bit easier…I mean, we are humans after all.

Here are 5 ways to make your marketing more human, and in turn, more successful:

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1. Develop a deeper relationship with your audience. Humans have relationships, its part of what makes a human, a human, but relationships take time and work – there is no difference when it comes to marketing to your audience. It’s important to first ask, who is your audience really? Why are you targeting them? Do you have actionable data about the contacts? If you don’t know much about them, it’s pretty difficult to have ‘human’ exchanges with them. Learn who they are, what they like, what they do, and then talk to them about it and offer content that reflects that you truly know them and actually care.

2. Personalize the journey. People want to be left with the feeling that their interests and preferences were taken into consideration before receiving any communication. There are few things more annoying than getting an email or seeing an ad that is completely irrelevant; it’s borderline rude. With the power of data, automation and powerful technologies, we have the tools to truly personalize our audience’s journey. %%First_name%% and %%last_name%% aren’t going to cut it anymore. We have to delve deeper and be strategic with how we leverage data.

3. Have conversations. If you are thinking about conversions, then you probably aren’t having good conversations. Talk to your audience, not at them. By definition, a conversation is an exchange, meaning in requires at least two parties, so treat your marketing efforts like a conversation – ask questions, get them engaged, make them feel like they can join in, offer relevant insight, and most importantly, learn more about them (hint: requires listening). Having real conversations is possible across all channels – in ads, email campaigns, videos, tradeshows etc., but it’s important to maintain a consistent voice and tone. In order for this to be executed effectively, we have to turn to our sales counterparts. All of the strategic marketing touches, the emails, the ads, it all culminates to a real conversation with a sales rep and it’s here that the human element must be strongest; it brings everything full circle.

4. Be vulnerable. Being human means having flaws. We all have them and its okay to be honest about where we fall short and when we make mistakes. Humans are by nature prone to failure, but conveniently, we are also prone to being empathetic, forgiving and understanding. Certainly don’t aim to fail, but if you do it’s okay, and being open about it can oftentimes strengthen the relationship and end up building trust. Just don’t make the same mistakes twice!

5. Change your mindset. The ability to ‘think’ like our buyers is a characteristic baked deep inside of every marketer, that’s why we’re marketers. A marketer is part-psychologist because we empathize with our buyers, we try to think like them, we put ourselves in their shoes and in their mind — all so that we can deliver messaging and content that resonates and leads to a sale. In the case of B2B marketing, it can mean using bigger words, trying to sound smarter, creating a strategic perception, and on and on and on into an overcomplicated mess. Don’t get caught up in trying to think like someone else, think like yourself, like the human that you are.

There have been a number of marketing trends in 2015, some of them may die and some may stick, but one that we can all put into practice, is being a little more human, because it truly goes a long way.

Emily Wingrove is the Director of Marketing for Social123, a leading B2B contact data and data solutions provider. As the head of all marketing and marketing operations at this fast-paced Atlanta startup, Wingrove leads the end-to-end marketing processes and oversees her hand selected team of innovative and talented marketers. Her areas of vast expertise are demand generation, event marketing, content strategy, and her favorite – database marketing, data-driven marketing, and all things data related.

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