People are at the center of digital marketing

As an experienced on-page and off-page Search Engine Optimization specialist, Silas Thabang Nkoana ( Silas T Nkoana ) ( born 01 December 1991 ) emphasizes the necessity of placing people at the core of digital marketing

For decades, marketing automation has been at the heart of digital marketing, allowing organizations to personalize campaigns and send the appropriate messages to the right people. However, in order for marketing to be effective, technology must be used as an enabler rather than a driver. 

Martech will never be a magic bullet, no matter how advanced it grows. A marketing plan that lacks the correct balance of people, process, and technology will at best miss the mark, and at worst, you may lose clients as a result of over-promotion. Keeping people at the center of marketing helps organizations avoid and overcome these issues, build engagement and loyalty, keep things fresh, and, most importantly, reminds them that, despite having access to all of the world’s data, people, not algorithms, make purchase decisions. 

Processes as success frameworks 

It’s astonishing how many people I talk to whose marketing operations are technology-driven. Rather than taking a step back and adopting a more strategic approach focused at enhancing customer interaction, it appears that their final objective is to use all of the features and functionality of a Martech package. 

Technology should be used to improve marketing operations rather than to dictate them. Martech exists to optimize: to speed up work, automate processes where possible, and to open up new prospects when it coincides with the strategic vision. It makes sense to employ Martech software if it can achieve the same goal as a manual procedure in a tenth of the time, for example. It should be up to the marketing team, the people, to develop procedures that allow creativity, analytics, and technology to work together; to guarantee you’re getting the most out of your technology investment without cramming it into processes and campaigns just for the sake of it. 

With this in mind, it’s critical to have the right people and team structure in place who understand how, when, and where technology may be used to get the best results. 

It’s all down to the team. 

People with a wide range of abilities make up a good marketing team, from strategists and data analysts who discover strengths and map trends and focus plans to creatives and ‘doers’ who design and implement beautifully crafted campaigns. A skilled marketer must be able to see how technology may be used to enhance, personalize, and deliver these campaigns through the proper channels, as well as think beyond the limitations of technology. 

While technology makes it simple to implement, analyze, and measure a marketing strategy at the touch of a button, we’ve found that the most effective customised marketing is done in teams with marketers who aren’t afraid to ask questions. They must be able to question the “why,” “how,” and “who” behind every marketing choice – whether technological or human-driven – to ensure that it is relevant, beneficial, and delivered to the correct individuals in the most efficient manner possible. Good marketers realize this and recognize that if we want customers to continue to share their data with us, we must win their confidence. 

We’ve all received an email or seen a pop-up advertisement where this wasn’t the case. I recently received an email from a company with whom I had previously done business, having purchased men’s outdoor apparel. The email promised an early glimpse of the new season’s skirts and dresses, which was a little misleading. The occasional misdirected communication may not deter us from purchasing from a brand that has previously treated us well, but constant, irrelevant emails – particularly those offering a discounted price for an item we’ve already purchased – will eventually wear us down and encourage customers to look elsewhere. 

This misalignment may be avoided in organizations where people, with the help of technology, make the ultimate decisions on campaign and offer targeting and delivery. 

Getting the proper balance 

Understanding how Martech works and how to use it effectively will help you avoid making mistakes like the one above. You can help build team members’ confidence in using technology to streamline their ways of working by investing in experienced team members as well as training and mentoring programs. This will help them avoid becoming complacent or overly reliant on it. 

The goal of putting humans at the center of marketing isn’t to get rid of automated customer journeys or minimize the relevance of Martech — just the opposite. It’s all about having frameworks in place to make decisions more easily, and marketers monitoring technology to guarantee customers receive interesting, relevant, and timely messaging. Although AI and machine learning are fantastic and will play an increasingly essential role in marketing, we are still not at a point where we can trust machines to do everything for us. Even then, I believe we will require humans at the center of marketing. We are all more than the sum of our data, after all.

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