When we look back at how marketing and advertising has evolved over the last decade, we documented our agency’s own core discoveries, and made note of some red flags that were raised towards the end of 2019 that signified a shift in the industry.

We kept a close eye on the landscape and witnessed trends such as the decline of organic reach began, paid advertising spend starting to skyrocket, and consumers beginning to feel confronted by the overwhelming abundance of ads crowding their timelines.

Disgruntled brands and businesses were trying out different tactics to push their ad budgets into action in hopes of last ditch effort to salvage some Return-on-Investment.

We witnessed brands reaching for a response from their audience in an assortment of digital campaigns; some with great success, and others that fell flat on their face.

Some of the major marketing flops you might have came across included:

The conclusion we came to was that there was a key ingredient missing in the marketing mix that had these brands miss the mark and it lies in our own DNA.

Why Your Old-School Marketing Efforts Aren’t Converting More Customers

To set the context, it’s important to note some key factors that have impacted the marketing and advertising industry as a whole.

We’re in the Age of Accelerated Digital Adoption

Move over, Millennials, we are seeing a rise of the latest generation dictating trends and tactics on social media now more than ever.

With Facebook pulling in most of the marketing power for brands and businesses, Sprout Social reported that the largest age group of active users on Facebook are ages 18-29.

 

Although the younger generations may not control the total purchasing power just yet, they have influence over the decision maker’s based on their level of digital literacy and ability to educate their friends and family.

In tandem, the rise of convenience products has made competition tough for brands to stand out with their potential customers in order to hit quotas. For the first time ever, in 2019, online retail sales beat out traditional in-store transactions, establishing a milestone of what the new age customer experience has become.

But there’s a catch to balancing customers’ desire for convenience and cost that goes deeper than a flashy User Experience or a colorful ad carousel.

Your Consumers Want Memorable Experiences

When we spoke to our clients of what was missing for their customers in their Buying Journey, we discovered three core areas that consumers wanted brands to concentrate on to make their customer experience more memorable.

  1. Transparency from the brands they’re buying from
  2. More one-on-one private interactions during the purchase process
  3. On-going appreciation for their purchase loyalty

What we can take away from these learnings is that there is a desire for human connection in our purchase behaviour.

Although more people are moving to online shopping experiences, customers still desire an experience that nurtures a relationship and resonates on an emotional level for us when choosing the brands we buy from.

Hold Up, Aren’t We All Humans Here?

Even if it seems like a simple concept, we need to remind ourselves as business owners and brand builders that at the end of day, we are all human.

When we take a step back and acknowledge that sales are required inevitably to run the business, we can open up the scope of what makes a brand human and ultimately relatable to our audience.

What we have found that is key to humanizing marketing is by leading with storytelling.

Shift Your Brand’s Focus From Selling and Start with Storytelling

Our brains are designed to process information in a particular way - by narrative.

From childhood to adulthood, we communicate more effectively when hearing and sharing stories as it builds connection and relatability.

Ultimately, you have a chance to humanize your brand by sharing your story.

“People don’t want to do business with businesses, they are doing business with people.”

- Kindra Hall, Author of Stories That Stick: How Storytelling Can Captivate Customers, Influence Audiences, and Transform Your Business’

To start, you can look at what areas can you share your story from when you have a touchpoint with a customer.

SOURCE: What Is a Sales Funnel? The Guide to Building An Automated Selling Machine

One tactic we have found effective in our inbound Marketing methodology, is to create a holistic experience from Interest to Purchase, catering to the needs and emotions of our audience each level of the Sales Funnel.

At Chirp, we will map the Engagement Journey from start to finish for our client’s customers and pinpoint all the areas they will interact with your brand to determine what we need to create to communicate effectively with their audience.

Then Hone In On How You Can Keep Your Audience Engaged

Once you’ve caught your audience’s attention by keeping it real, raw, and human, you might be asking yourself, “now what?”.

A common problem brands share is how to keep their customers engaged once they’ve entered the funnel.

For brands playing in e-commerce, even if the adoption rate of a new product or service is high, customers tend to be non-committal and often abandon carts if there’s a missing in their online experience.

 

How you can effectively combat this challenge is starting by looking at your own online shopping experiences and taking note of what has turned you away from completing a transaction.

If you are successful in converting a customer, it is more important now than ever to maintain rapport with your customer by keeping them engaged beyond their purchase.

A few examples of tactics we have found successful to keep your customers engaged past purchase include:

  • Implementing a loyalty reward programs
  • Offering some sort of purchase guarantee
  • Complementary content suggestions that relate to their purchase
  • Using interactive content to engage directly with the brand
  • Sharing the behind the scenes connected to their product or service

Here’s What You Can Do to Revitalize Your Customer Relationships

So the bottom line to harnessing the key ingredient to marketing your brand successfully in 2020 lies in humanizing your marketing efforts.

In order to do that, we recommend you set the bar for yourself as a business owner by keeping a few things in mind when choosing what agency or service provider to get your product or service to market:

  • Be realistic with the partners who are supporting your sales and marketing with what they can expect from you and vice versa by establishing clear roles and responsibilities
  • Frame your relationship as a partnership and not just a purchase order to obtain the next big sale to maximize collaboration and confidence in each other's capabilities
  • Put skin in the game and treat the the project as if it were you last so you’re putting best work forward

And for your customers, you’ll want to focus on:

  • How can I make my customer’s purchase experience more memorable?
  • What can I do every step of the Buying Journey to either provide value or share some of our story?
  • How can I keep our brand human and keep our customers engaged with what we’re up to?

If you need a fresh perspective or just need someone to brainstorm some new ideas with, check out how we managed to fill our pipeline with over 6-figures in new business opportunities last quarter through the button below. We promise, we won't try to sell you on the 'next big thing'.

Discover Our Secrets - Sales Enablement

Alison Masniuk

Article by Alison Masniuk

Alison Masniuk is a Digital Content and Communications specialist based in Calgary, Alberta. Alison is passionate about social media and technology, always looking how to communicate a brand's story through original content and strategy right from ideation to execution. She has a professional background in Human Resource Management, Public Relations, and Digital Marketing.