Not too long ago, it was considered cool to be cold. Take the world of marketing and advertising, for instance. It used to be all about strategy and high-volume selling tactics. No one was asking what the customer really wanted. Companies were putting all of their attention into the quantity of sales rather than the quality of what they were selling. Marketers were told to focus all of their attention on one type of client while persuading them that they know what they want. According to marketing agencies, every woman in America wanted a new oven and every man desired a sleek automobile.
Quite a bit of time has passed since those tactics were applied and with it we’ve seen an enormous amount of change in the world of marketing. More and more clients are shying away from the lemming lifestyle that once foiled generations to mindlessly follow trend after trend. Today, clients want to be people first. And they want to be heard.
Consider the beer industry in America, for example. Ten years ago, you wouldn’t have found many taps that weren’t a product of Anheuser-Busch, Miller or Coors. However, watered down, domestic beer is becoming a thing of the past. According to Mother Jones, craft beer sales have nearly doubled since 2010 and craft breweries are popping up all over. Customers are finding themselves more drawn to employee-run businesses, co-ops and the overall feel of community. That new fascination shows itself in the fermented decisions consumers have been making.
Put the idea of craft breweries versus big business into context. In an age where information is everywhere and people rarely leave the room without the security of their smartphone, it seems hard to believe that the next move for marketing would be to go small. Think about how fast technology is evolving every single day. Consumers are constantly reminded of new updates for current apps across various platforms. If your marketing strategies are only going to muddy those content-heavy waters, you might as well give up.
Today, more and more customers are yearning for that sense of community. They want to feel a connection and they want you to know who they are. Clients are intrigued by your backstory as a company. They want to see pictures of your journey, hear accounts from other clients and they want you to be relevant. They prefer local over global and transparency over mystery. And customers aren’t as easily swindled by an objective, dispassionate demeanor – which means you can lighten up those blogposts a bit. Stark, serious business talk may become something of the past as a smart sense of humor teamed with age-appropriate vocabulary wins over the opinionated youth of our future.
This year isn’t even two weeks in and many other resources have predicted the same; 2015 is the year marketing agencies go human. It’s the year when ad men are encouraged to take their hats off, unfurl their brows and look each client in the eye. No longer are people interested in getting cold calls from stiff suits. If you want to improve customer relations in 2015, consider trading in those old-fashioned gimmicks for a new found empathetic approach, the quality of your character and the fortitude to reveal the real person behind the enterprise. Because at the end of the day, all humans love a sincere performance and no one likes to be left in the cold.
Header photo by Alexis Gravel.