What is the most significant driving force behind any business in the world? Is it capital? The answer is no. Is it the product or service? That depends on the nature of the industry. Is it leadership? Good leadership definitely plays its part. But, the most significant driving force behind any business comes down to one word: people.
People are the sole reason that any company exists.
People touch every aspect of business from consumer to employee to employer. So, how important is it to have human contact play a part in the marketing and branding of what your company has to offer? Simply put, it is essential. That is if you want to tap into your company’s true potential.
Dale Carnegie, one of the most well-known businessmen in the world, once exclaimed the following: “When dealing with people, remember that you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.”
This thought drives home an important point. If people were strictly creatures of logic, you could simply direct mail everyone your best offer on your product or service and hope they would find your deal the most logical choice. However, since we know people make choices based not only on their rational thoughts but also, and sometimes to a greater degree, on their emotions, we should play to these emotions in our marketing campaigns.
To effectively accomplish this we need to do one fundamental thing. We must keep human contact in the equation. In today’s world, consumers are bombarded with countless offers on everything imaginable. There isn’t a product or service out there that you can’t find competing offers via direct mail, telemarketing, or web advertisements. Each year, techies find new ways to “one-up” last year’s marketing gimmick or innovation. The problem is that these new marketing tools have, in some cases, completely replaced the human element.
Let’s think about it for a moment. How many ways have we, as companies, lost a form of direct contact with the people that we are in business for? We used to have secretaries or operators answer our customer service lines. Now we have automated systems. We used to see our customers out shopping for our product or service. Now we take their orders via our website. We used to be one of few and had a reputation to uphold with our consumers. Now, we are one of many where a good reputation has to compete with shrinking prices and an “I want it now and on my terms” society.
So, how does human contact change the equation? Well, for starters, it gives your company something that is severely lacking in almost every industry in the world. This is especially true when it comes to branding your product. Most companies, when building a brand, attempt to get the end user to associate one aspect of their product with their brand or company. Sometimes it is taste, quality, atmosphere or a host of other attributes. But, rarely do marketing execs attempt to brand any kind of human element. And why would they? And especially if they have no internal structure for supporting it.
That’s where a savvy marketing campaign can make a difference.
Decide to point the company in a new direction – and start from the ground up. Redirect a portion of those phone lines back to a human being, even if it is still initially answered by an automated attendant. Consumers don’t want to wade through a maze of options to get to a real person, especially if they have a problem they want taken care of. Then, reallocate some of the advertising budget to doing limited promotions that get your end user involved. This is where creativity can pay off.
Think contests, prizes, partnerships, or any other unique venue that can promote your product or service through a human connection.
In the end, making your company more personal through increased human contact can create a brand synonymous with trust and can increase loyalty in your customers. Although it may be cheaper in operating costs to replace a human pulse with an electronic one, lost profits and a weaker brand will certainly prevail in the end. Take the high road and your customers will associate your brand with a face rather than a farce.