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How Can We Humanise the Digital Marketing Experience?

May 29th, 2019 Andrew Warren-Payne

Each month, the team at ON24 puts together Insight50 – where we provide fellow Webinerds with 50 minutes of expert insight and answer the questions that are important to you.

One of our recent sessions was on humanising the digital marketing experience. With just about every marketer singing the praises of the benefits of personalisation, how can it be done at scale without losing the personal touch and putting off prospects?

The below is just a brief wrap up of insights from Joel Harrison at B2B Marketing, Leanne Chesco at Demandbase and Matt Heinz at Heinz Marketing – and of course, you the viewers! If you didn’t manage to see it, view it on-demand here.

As we move further into the world of digital, keeping marketing personal and human can prove to be difficult. While it is one thing to be able to personalise the experience for one or even a few targets, it’s another to do it at scale.

So how do marketers use the technology available to them to work at scale, keep it personal and make it human? Here are a few insights from our panel of experts.

Why is it important to be human at scale?

You could probably look in your inbox right now and find an email that was meant to be personalised, but somehow failed for any number of reasons. In fact, more than 4 in 10 (43.3%) of webinar attendees reported that on a weekly basis, they received ‘personal’ emails that were clearly automated and as a result became irritated. Another one-third (33.3%) said they receive these types of emails daily.

It’s clear that receiving emails where it is apparent that no one bothered to research who the recipient is, what their organisation does or the specific needs of the organisation are can be off-putting to the recipient and counterproductive for the sender.

For Joel, the importance of being human at scale is because as marketing continues to become more digital, it becomes more difficult to get more traction in brands and to see through what is not relevant.

“As much as we need to be digital, we need to be human. That’s what creates traction with our audience. I think it’s fair to say that B2B buyers are becoming more and more cynical so I think that, for me, that’s the importance of being human.”

At the same time, Matt Heinz warned about getting too caught up on efficiency and scale at the expense of the experience for the buyer. He reminds the audience of the importance of creating a one-on-one experience for their customers.

“I think it’s important to keep in mind that no matter what your campaign is, no matter where you’re sending it from, for the recipient, for the buyer, for your customer, it is always a one-on-one interaction. They don’t care how many other people you’re sending that message to. They are just thinking about themselves. And they’re receiving that message as one person as an individual.”

How can automation be used more effectively?

When webinar attendees were asked to describe their organisation’s approach when it comes to automation 39.3% said they did not use marketing automation and 28.6% said they use automation in a limited way.

One-fifth (21.4%) said they do use automation more than before, but it still sometimes appears stilted and unnatural. For these organisations who reported using automation but maybe not in the most effective way, Matt suggested stepping back away from working in ‘fire drill mode’ and looking at what automation can do for the organisation.

“What you’re doing in eight hours, you could do in two. What you’re doing to impact 100 customers, you could impact 10,000 customers. And yes, you’re going to have to step back and do some work to put that in place. But that investment and creating those automated systems is going to have a far-reaching, scalable, highly valuable impact on what marketing can do not only with those customers, but the impact marketing can have on sales and revenue.”

For organisations that have marketing automation in place but their sales teams are not taking advantage of it, Leanne suggests that marketers get that data into the hands of reps. Providing them information like intent data can help validate that their prospects are showing buying signals, while behavioural data from target accounts can inform salespeople that their prospects are visiting their website.

“Say a customer is coming up for renewal, you can look at things like intent data to understand actually what that company is looking at. That includes content that’s on your website, but also content that could be on your competitor’s website. That’s definitely the type of data that is great to get in the hands of your salespeople to help them validate that this account is in a good position to either engage in a sales cycle, or that the sales cycle looks healthy.”

What are the barriers to making the digital marketing experience more human?

One of the barriers to humanising the digital experience for one-quarter (25%) of the webinar attendees was a lack of time and personnel to develop processes and campaigns. Other barriers to a lesser degree included legacy technology, integration between systems and internal disagreements about the best approach to take.

However, the biggest barrier for one-third (33.3%) of attendees was a lack of quality data. Leanne recommended that organisations make sure they are targeting the right accounts and that they have a good contact acquisition strategy in place so they know they are targeting the right stakeholders.

“If you’re leveraging those different technologies or tools out there to show you that those accounts are active and showing you active buying signals, I think that’s definitely going to help with engagement and improve your quality of data.”

Hear more on our Insight50 session

The quotes above are just a small sample of what was discussed and answered on this Insight50 session. Make sure to register to watch on-demand and strengthen your topical marketing campaigns for the year ahead.