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What are the Barriers to Human-to-Human Marketing at Scale?

March 4th, 2019 Andrew Warren-Payne

Our upcoming Insight50 session will be exploring how marketers can humanize the digital marketing experience. Sign up for the session to get your questions answered, with expert speakers including Leanne Chescoe of Demandbase, Joel Harrison of B2B Marketing, and Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing.

We’ve all received those emails and LinkedIn messages that request “10 minutes of our time”. Even though they use our first name and appear to come from someone’s personal email address, they are clearly automated – and annoying.

But against tough targets – and equipped with technology that makes it easier than ever before to reach buyers at scale – it can be easy to fall into a trap where attempts at building a human connection simply fall flat.

So why is the case and what can be done about it? Ahead of the webinar, we have put together a few thoughts.

Poor quality data leads to poor quality connections

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If the data is wrong, chances are that any attempt to market to individuals will also be wrong.

When creating campaigns, it’s all too easy to quickly build or use a list that hasn’t had enough thought or checking behind it. Obvious examples would be:

  • Failing to exclude existing customers or competitors from new business lists.
  • Bought data that is old and hasn’t been cleansed, appended or processed.
  • Leads that are missing information on other communications received – for example, where sales activity hasn’t fed through to a marketing automation system, meaning active prospects get new outreach.

Beyond the above, there is also the chance that engagement data – or perhaps disengagement data – hasn’t been applied effectively.

If a prospect hasn’t engaged with any marketing for several months, is your offer compelling enough for them to do so now? And likewise, if someone has been actively researching solutions, what if that engagement hasn’t been connected to a lead score and targeted outreach?

All of the above can lead to both poorly-targeted marketing and missed opportunities to build connections.

Linear buying stages don’t reflect the complexity of the customer journey

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Even though the funnel is used as the foundation for much of B2B marketing, in reality, it doesn’t reflect the way that people buy.

Countless scenarios mean that it is very challenging to build automated campaigns to fit every eventuality. As such, the law of diminishing returns will come into play, meaning that there will be a point at which adding further granularity to a marketing program will not make commercial sense.

At this point, growth can only come from approaching people as individuals – which places a greater emphasis on identifying who those individuals are.

Automated marketing is yet to pass the Turing Test

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The reality is that despite advances in artificial intelligence, instances where machines genuinely convince people that they are human are very rare.

And while there are some simple examples where computers have helped (such as Google Assistant being able to book appointments by phone), applying this to complex sales is still a long way off.

In the meantime, marketers might be better off if instead of using technology that pretends to be human, they use technology to prove they are human.

Obviously, webinars are one way of doing that, but there are many others. Email can be used to send messages that carefully address known (rather than assumed) needs. Dynamic creative can be used to drive prospects to account-specific landing pages that have been crafted individually. Social engagement through personal accounts can open up individual conversations.

When you compare this to marketing in the pre-digital era, it’s clear that marketing at scale can be human – as long as there is actually a human behind it.

To find out more and ask your questions, make sure to sign up to our Insight50 webinar on Humanising the Digital Experience.