The One Thing You Shouldn’t Automate in Your Marketing

November 30, 2016

As a marketer, I receive emails almost every week about marketing automation tools or customer relationship management systems. Technology can scale and automate many business processes, saving us time and helping us all be more productive. But these efficiencies come with a big pitfall. Businesses often start to see people as numbers and stop seeing them as humans.

Being a great brand today means taking the time to build meaningful relationships with real people, not numbers. There’s no magic formula here. It’s as simple as getting to know your team and your customers and making them feel valued.

Connecting with people can lead to better customer retention, lower employee turnover, higher productivity, and higher customer and employee satisfaction. It’s a great time to start with a simple “thank you.” Here are three tips to show gratitude to your customers in more meaningful ways.

Be Authentic

Only say it if you mean it. People can tell when a “thank you” is genuine, and it won’t mean much if it’s not. Heartfelt thank yous can build trust and respect.  Hollow ones can leave people with a bad taste in their mouth. When thanking people, be genuine and stay true to your brand.

Be Specific

Be specific about why you’re thanking them. Share an example of what they did and how it made a difference. This shows people that you’re paying attention and lets them know exactly why they’re being thanked.

Make It Personal

Take the time to get to know people. What method of communication do they prefer? What matters to them? How can you make your “thank you” special to them? Personalization is the best way to show people you care.

Show people that you value them as individuals. Don’t let money stand in the way of building a great team or delivering a great experience to your customers. As Nick says in Get Scrappy, “embrace your people power.” Support your employees with policies and a culture that encourage work-life balance. Send your customers a handwritten thank you note or personalized birthday gift. Don’t rely on automation to build lasting relationships.

This is one thing that will always need a human touch.

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is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.