Three Signs Your Marketing Strategy Is Stuck in the Past

It's crazy to think we're now less than two years away from 2020. Wasn't it just 2010? Weren't we just experimenting with viral videos, joining social media as a brand for the first time and diving into mobile advertising?

Man working on outdated machine next to child on new technology.As time flies by, it's important to make sure your marketing techniques are flying along with you. The traditional approach of sticking to what's worked in the past won't help you maintain a competitive advantage. Your competitors are and have always been watching your every move and will be scheming to differentiate their product from yours. How can you keep up if you're too hesitant to change?

It's out with the old and in with the new. If any of the outdated strategies below hit a little too close to home, keep reading to learn how you can overcome some common mistakes and embrace the change.

You Trust Your Gut Over Data


How are customers interacting with your company? What led them to your site or initially sparked their interest in you, resulting in an improved perception of your company? What can you do to continue being more visible? Without data, your answer to these questions is nothing but a hunch. With something as important as your job or the company's growth and profits on the line, do you really want to risk not utilizing the right data to make educated decisions?

Although decision makers who have the final say can sometimes be set in their ways and think they know best, McKinsey revealed that companies that don't put data at the center of their marketing and sales decisions are missing out on a 15-20 percent increase in marketing ROI. The data we now have access to is astounding — utilizing it means a better experience for all parties involved. Consider implementing data to track the effectiveness of your advertisements, website, content marketing, keywords and online-to-offline conversion rates.

Your Brand Still Lacks a Personality on Social Media


It's time to get real with potential and current customers on social media sites. People want to feel like they're interacting with a real person. Take MoonPie, for example. In response to a snarky tweet at the brand from a user named Kaela, MoonPie broke customer service norms and responded back with a witty jab of its own. The conversation received thousands of impressions.

Now we're not saying you have to give snarky remarks to negative comments your social media accounts receive, but it is time to get personal with potential and current customers on social media sites. With about 2 billion users logging into three of the biggest channels every month (Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus), it's no surprise that brands are literally hiring people to be hilarious to make the brand go viral and get more impressions.

Even if you're looking to maintain a more sophisticated social media persona, make sure you're doing your best to engage your customers on social media. If they tweet you, make sure you're replying promptly. If your posts aren't getting impressions, consider doing some research to discover what does get impressions. Social media is one of the least expensive ways to increase brand awareness, so make sure you're maximizing all the resources it provides.

You Haven't Automated Anything


Increased efficiency is the goal for a lot of companies these days, and it's becoming more and more feasible and affordable to implement artificial intelligence (AI), such as interactive voice response (IVR) or chatbots. These technologies increase efficiency by taking care of minuscule tasks, allowing your staff time to work on more cumbersome tasks.

We definitely think keeping human touch alive is critical (just check out our last blog post) but by the year 2035, AI will be boosting productivity by a staggering 40 percent or more, which certainly justifies the need for automation.

While sticking to whatever conventional methods your company has been using is comfortable and familiar, it's time to innovate. Jackie Fenn, a specialist in innovation for Gartner, said, "You cannot afford to stay still — business is a moving escalator. The world is moving around you  customer expectations are changing, competitors are always catching up and threatening to take away your business." We couldn't agree more.

What is your business doing to stay ahead of the curve?

Why Your Customers Still Expect Human Interaction in an Artificial Intelligence World

Human and robot play tug-of-war.
There's no question about it that artificial intelligence (AI)  computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence  will rapidly transform our world as we know it. In fact, it already is. From voice-controlled assistants to self-driving cars, the future is knocking (literally... a robot could be knocking). Is your company going to answer?

The real debate is how good are AI capabilities without the joint efforts of human touch? Will a lack of human emotion have a negative impact on the customer experience? Arguably, there are some things AI simply cannot replace.

If your company does take the leap into AI, we believe it works best in conjunction with human interaction. Below are the reasons why you should keep your company's human touch alive, even after implementing artificial intelligence.

Authenticity


Are you listening to what your customers want? An Accenture study found that 73 percent of customers prefer human interactions. Whether you utilize interactive voice response (IVR) or chatbots, AI is beneficial for increased efficiency and freeing up your agents from tedious tasks. 

When this is the case, provide your customers with an easily accessible communication option that allows them to quickly connect to a real human. By granting them the option to choose, you're making the customer experience more customized and much more enjoyable for both parties involved.

Empathy


Have you ever had a bad customer service experience that made you feel bitter toward a company? Picture being infuriated, calling the company's customer service team in an effort to resolve the issue, and then reaching a machine. The machine navigates you through a long list of menu options that connects you to another machine. Unfortunately, you click the wrong option and are pinballed around for 11 minutes until you finally land with a human to solve your problem.

Regardless of whether a human or machine answers the customer service line, the last thing an angry customer wants to display is patience. They want prompt acknowledgment and a helpful solution. If you haven't already, consider providing an easy-to-find customer service line that's separate from your main business number. That way, the caller can get in touch with one of your employees more quickly, and they can get the solution they're looking for. 

Determining the right mix of AI and human touch can be a challenge. What will your company do to find the right balance?