On Making Our Digital Marketing More Human
So many times, we fall into crass de-humanization when we market online to prospect and current customers. This causes us to treat people as soulless meatballs, rather than individuals with deep feelings, desires, aspirations, struggles, etc.
By doing so, we disconnect from the value of compassion, which puts us at risk in many ways:
- Risk of disrespecting someone’s delicate situation, the details of which we’re not fully aware of
- Risk of our marketing not connecting in a manner that is as deep and authentic as it could be
- Risk of missing out on valuable opportunities
- Risk of our copy or our sales process being pissing annoying because we focus on our desperation and lose sight of people’s experience
I come from many years working in the ad agency and corporate worlds, where it’s quite common to say things like “when we launch this phase of the campaign, we’ll be in front of 500,000 eyeballs”.
Excuse me… “Eyeballs”? Mr. CMO, did you really mean to say “people”?
Now, at this point you might think this is just a rant on semantics, and that this post is way too hippy; however — if you haven’t yet dismissed me by this point—just think about it for a minute.
How many times in marketing do we use combative and demeaning language to refer to our current and potential clients and their experiences:
- “Squeeze page”
- “Sales funnel”
- “Email Blast”
I know that many of these terms have at this point taken flight, and are even featured in marketing textbooks, so it may be too late to change the world…
…But I believe we can change ourselves, if we want to.
These attitudes influence our approach towards others, especially when we’re crunched in desperation mode —which happens to all entrepreneurs— yet I think we should be fully intentional with every action we take… including which terms we allow to be a part of our business vocabulary.
I’ve assessed the terms we use at our agency, and without realizing it we’ve solidified our own different internal vocabulary; we use “Product Staircase” instead of “Funnel”, “Velvet Rope” instead of “Tripwire”, “Objective Audience” instead of “target”, and “Persona” instead of “avatar”.
Oh, and we never refer to audiences as “eyeballs,” like it’s common for marketers to do.
We feel these terms help us preserve an awareness of our client’s humanity at all times, and allows us to serve them better, which leads us to develop marketing communication and experiences that aren’t annoying nor demeaning.
Listen, the world is already such a violent, aggressive place. There’s no reason why marketing should be viewed as a battle, rather than what it really is: an authentic pursuit to provide outstanding value as our chosen business.
Alex Rodríguez develops high-end digital marketing campaigns that transform brands and attract business. He is the author of Digital BACON. His clientele has run the gamut from top-level advertising agencies and Fortune500 corporations, through national broadcast networks, to award-winning production firms. He heads up the team at YMMY Marketing. Connect with Alex via LinkedIn or Twitter