Every year, SXSW is hyped as the epicenter of tech, music and marketing trends. But in a year characterized by social discourse and data breaches, one theme resonated throughout the conference’s countless sessions: Be Human.
According to SXSW, here are some of the ground rules for giving your marketing a more human touch.
You’ve likely got more data on your audience than they realize. But it’s what you choose to do with it that matters, and digital marketing often has us acting like stalker exes following our customers around the web. (we’re looking at you, Amazon retargeting ads.)
Instead of being creepy, be helpful. People turn to their apps, search engines and social networks with a purpose in mind. If you can be the one to help them make a more informed decision, that’s how you’ll build powerful brand advocates. For example, Coke’s Chief Digital Officer spoke about how they identified 15 different “drink moments” throughout the day where one might pick up a beverage – instead of waving Cokes in your face all day, they work to thoughtfully target these moments where you might need a drink.
From the Equifax blunder to Cambridge Analytics and #DeleteFacebook, our society is experiencing some serious trust issues regarding digital and social media. While it’s always been the case, people are waking up to the fact that their personal data has become the spotlight product of the platforms they’ve known and loved. And this will have implications not just for the offending companies, but for all brands.
Fjord’s Group Director, as part of its annual trend predictions, says that organizations need to switch from “touch points” to “trust points.” We have to show our customers and users that their data is being used to create better products and experiences – not just more profits. For example, a best practice for building trust in the marketplace is Spotify’s use of blockchain technology (Mediachain) to ensure songwriters, artists and rights holders all get paid their fair share for streaming.
Finally, let us introduce you to THE buzzword of SXSW 2018: Empathy. (Seriously… Reps from Facebook, NFL, University of Michigan, Huge Inc., New York Times and CNN ALL spoke about empathy within their sessions.)
Is empathy as a marketing principle groundbreaking? No. Do we really need to be reminded to have empathy as we build marketing programs? Most definitely.
Think about it – when’s the last time you’ve actually seen an ad and thought, “This brand just GETS me”? As a result, brands are moving more toward engaging their own customers – aka “influencers” – to market products and lifestyles. Word-of-mouth continues to remain a top distinguisher for if a person will take action, and your audience is much more likely to engage with someone they can identify with. Glossier uses this strategy heavily on Instagram – forgoing celebrity endorsements entirely for micro-influencers who will help them create a more authentic buzz about their products.