human marketing

Closing the sale by being human

Looking for data on the auto shopping behaviors in social media, this video from Automotive Digest featuing Hans Van Order, CEO of UDC, realy stands out.

The theme of this video, "Time to be human again" is spot on- maintaining your existing relationships by being human is something you can do every day.  Don't rely on a computer, a twitter bot, or Google Adwords to do these for you.  The technology is a means to reach out, but the tech is meaningless without the human touch.  

CRM is certainly easier with certain kinds of technology, but being human is what really closes sales.


Heartfelt Marketing scores - Griffin and Dave Delaney

This is the kind of multi-media experience I believe any brand can undertake with the right people approaching a high-profile event.  While you would do lots of things differently to reflect your brand, the skeleton is here.  Chris Brogan's post on Griffin is excellent, here are excerpts:

Dave Delaney and his company, Griffin, put on quite a great little project with CESBound. They took an old VW bus, after hours, and restored it, and then drove it from Nashville all the way to Las Vegas for CES. Along the way, they made media, met friends, told stories, shot photos, froze a bit, played music, and had a blast.

Key takeways (from the bottom of the post):

  • Tell a story and tell it well.
  • Capture the story in multiple types of media.
  • Involve people by communicating and relationship-building.
  • Tie it to your core theme and beliefs (Griffin is a lot about art, design, expression).
  • Build a meaningful online presence around the experience. Don’t call CESBound a microsite.
  • Do it inhouse. Near as I can tell, they had no external agency help with the project.
  • Share the spotlight. Griffin also partnered with Threadless to create a special CES iPhone case, with BrightKite for location services, and more.
  • Bring it all home. The team did a great job of telling a story that also strengthened the brand.

Kudos to Dave Delaney and thanks as always to Chris Brogan for calling out a rockstar story.

Relationships: your ticket out of Social Media Slave Labor

Are social media sites the agents driving us all into slave labor creating the means for marketers to oppress us?  Or can marketers be smarter than that?

Instead, I would argue that only marketers who fail to create relationships need slaves.

The Internet as Playground and Factory conference explored these issues recently, and at first blush, an excerpt like this gives us all the willies, doesn't it?

Only a small fraction of the more than one billion Internet users create and add videos, photos, and mini-blog posts. The rest pay attention. They leave behind innumerable traces that speak to their interests, affiliations, likes and dislikes, and desires. Large corporations then profit from this interaction by collecting and selling this data.  Social participation is the oil of the digital economy. Today, communication is a mode of social production facilitated by new capitalist imperatives and it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish between play, consumption and production, life and work, labor and non-labor. 

Am I a slave right now, blogging and tweeting and mentioning brand names and leaving a trail of data crumbs all over the interwebs?  True, all the data the "slaves" create is fodder for data-driven marketing. Tracking people across social media, .com properties, searches and video views, it all becomes the cloud that companies are seeking to profit from.

Many of these approaches create highly interesting optimization problems.  However, I would claim that we cannot reduce all marketing to an optimization problem.

1. You can't optimize awareness- if you want people everywhere to know what you are doing, this will cost you in terms of money, people, or time, or frequently all three.

2.Once a user finds you, marketing strategies must combine the use of personalized offers with actual relationships and content.  So no matter how many times you test your banner creative to see whether people who saw the "pizza hut and taco bell" video like your banner ad better than people who saw the "Peanut butter jelly time" clip from Family Guy, these correlations do not get people to like you.  They're just data. 

3. Data in marketing organization often reduces perceived uncertainty about a tactic without really proving it's the right strategy.  It's just a better use of money, but spending money without creating relationships is a first class ticket to

4. Optimization-driven marketing creates perceived value for middlemen and service providers, and moves dollars around between ad nbetworks, exchanges, publishers, advertsiwers, agencies and niche service providers:  it does create valuable relationships with customers.

The Human Relationships  forged when your product or sales force take care of the customer, however challenging, last longer than an ad campaign or an agency retainer agreement, and are forgiving of mistakes but not impervious.  It's a long-term value play.  Some companies play this game well, and many, many, do not.  Patience is a virtue.

Hat tip to @kcheyfitz for giving me something to think about this Sunday morning.