In today’s digital world, marketing is more complicated and intricate than ever before, reflecting the complexity of today’s markets and consumers. Marketers are responsible for not only attracting customers, but deepening client relationships, driving sales and delivering sustainable business outcomes.

In marketing, digital innovation is alive and well. It has fundamentally changed how leaders think about and approach marketing. From always-on CRM systems, to voice biometrics and even social media – digital innovation is driving many facets of modern marketing.

According to Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey 2018–19, nearly a third of CMO budgets are allocated to marketing technology, and digital workhorses (paid and organic search, website and email) account for 25% of marketing investments.

Digital innovation has given marketers more data at their fingertips. On the one hand, this has put the marketer in a powerful position to understand the customer more intimately. However, it all comes down to how marketers utilise the data to create a personalised experience.

It is this part of the digital conversation – the personalisation and human element aspect – that, as leaders, we must now focus on.

Digital metrics such as open rates and clickthrough rates are important, but companies that only focus on these could lose sight of the bigger picture. The human touch is invaluable – it’s what make clients feel like they have a real relationship with a brand. No amount of clever digital marketing can truly deliver that without attention to personalisation and care.

Here are five tips on how leaders can leverage digital marketing without losing that crucial personal touch:

  1. Get to know your customers intimately.

    The data is there – use it wisely. Marketers need to be trained in converting data to an understanding of client behaviour (rooted somewhat in psychology) to see how the data can truly be useful.

    Use data-driven insights to drive human conversation with customers in building relationships. Show that you are committed to investing time and effort in meeting their individual needs.

  2. Don’t spam – develop timely, relevant and insightful content.

    A strong thought leadership strategy helps solidify your standing in an industry, especially in business-to-business marketing. Where digital helps to spread your message to a wider audience, leaders need to generate content that shares relevant insights with the right audience.

    You don’t want to spam your audience with irrelevant and generic content that is not appropriate or tailored to the client and their relationship with the brand. Take the time to customise and personalise content.

  3. Personalise the digital experience.

    Marketers aren’t the only people responsible for digital communications within a company. What about contact centre agents, customer service representatives and your field staff? Ensure your whole team is equipped with the right skills and knowledge of your brand’s values to communicate your message to the clients. Ultimately, they too add to the humanisation of your digital channels and must remain consistent with your brand.

  4. Use social media to personify the brand.

    Your social media platforms aren’t just a way to provide information or sell your offerings. Use them to create a personality online, something for customers to connect to.

    They offer you the opportunity to tell visual stories about your brand, personalise your messaging and truly embody your brand essence in all communications. Give your brand some life with the human element in social media and make it more than just another faceless corporate.

  5. Use digital to do more than share insights – start a conversation.

    Digital opens up your marketing avenues so you can generate a two-way conversation with customers rather than just talking at them with traditional marketing methods.

    Most still want an authentic interaction with real people so it is important for marketers to still be able to read their audience and respond to cues intelligently. Even clever AI and chatbots cannot accurately converse with customers in the way they desire yet, so it is still up to the human element to really connect with customers on a personal level.

Digital opens up the world for marketers and customers. It provides opportunities to reach wider audiences, reduce costs and time invested, and so much more. However, it is important for leaders not to lose sight of the human element of connecting with customers that was natural in days gone by. Digital only takes you so far – it is how you use digital data that matters, as well as how you supplement digital marketing efforts with your broader marketing strategy.