Like reindeer in the headlights, many marketing professionals are dazed by the relentless introduction of new digital tools, and new twists on existing tools. From promoted Tweets, sponsored stories, and featured videos to HTML5, local search marketing, and native advertising … businesses are struggling to process it all.
But when all is said and done, 2015 may go down in marketing history as the year corporate America revealed its human side. Any marketing professional worth their salt knows that spewing out thinly veiled, corporate-speak sales pitches is no longer effective (if ever it was), but it’s taking some intense introspection for the denizens of the executive suite to begin loosening their ties and putting their humanity on display for all the world to see. And it’s a particularly tall order for the healthcare industry, which traditionally has played things very close to the vest.
“… a clever laugh or the vulnerability of silliness is the most efficient path to earning trust and loyalty.”
–Tim Washer, Senior Marketing Manager, Social Media, Cisco Systems (from toprankblog.com)
The driving force pushing businesses to chillax is the coveted millennial audience, whose affinity for casual conversation over pushy messaging and authenticity over manufactured imaging is prompting businesses to rethink their stodgy strategies. Healthcare professionals (HCPs) are no exception. Like their Gen Y peers, they have come of age with social media, and tend to trust fellow millennials over corporate entities.
5 Ways to Bring Humanity to Your Marketing
The human touch is particularly relevant when it comes to email marketing tactics. Email is a perfect medium for delivering highly customized, extremely significant information. There is a huge opportunity to connect with HCPs when your message is delivered directly to their inboxes. So as another frenzied year comes to a close, take some time to relax, reflect and resolve to show your soft side in 2015. Here are a few customer-centric approaches to consider:
- Stop Preaching and Start Entertaining and Informing. In 2015, there will be an expansion of the recent trend toward brands becoming publishers. Companies are scrambling to replace ad copywriters with “brand journalists.” According to the Content Marketing Institute, 70% of people would rather learn about a company via an article rather than an ad. Hire experienced journalists to inject humor, integrity and emotion into your content, and carry the love over to your emails. Those prized millenials have precious little patience for messages that don’t provide real value or tug at their heartstrings.
- Show Them the Money – Visual content will continue to proliferate online in 2015 and beyond. Well-crafted videos can increase sales and leads. Forbes reports that 59% of senior executives would rather watch a video than read text, and 65% visit the marketers website after viewing a video. When you consider these numbers, an investment in video can give you more bang for your buck than hiring a team of writers. If you don’t have in-house video or image creation expertise, there are ever-more economical options for creating visual content. For example, on fiverr.com you can pay $5 to have a short video or infographic created (yes, $5!).
- Design for Mobile First – The continuing proliferation of mobile devices and importance of optimizing for them has been noted in digital marketing forecasts for years. But email marketers are increasingly designing for mobile first, because most email opens happen on mobile devices. With HTML5 affording the ability to turn inboxes into landing pages, it’s become technically possible to incorporate video and audio directly into emails. But an intriguing preview linked to a video on your website works as well if you don’t have HTML5 capability.
- Send Consistent Messages – More and more, marketing silos are merging and employee advocates, brand ambassadors, marketing and sales staff are all sharing responsibility for creating integrated messages customized to match the intent of the target audience. While decentralization of content marketing can produce extraordinary results, it’s important to ensure that the theme of campaigns is kept consistent in email, social media, search marketing and traditional media to create a unified message and brand image.
- Get Personal – Consumers have come to expect personalized, highly relevant content from marketers. Collect, interpret and act on marketing data to deliver a message tailored to the recipient. Employ A/B splits, drip campaigns and location targeting. Monitor visitor activity on your website and send auto-responder emails to touch prospective customers when they are actively seeking information and are most likely to respond.
Start a new tradition in 2015 by tipping your hand and revealing your human side to customers. You may be rewarded with the gift of a better bottom line in return.