Modern Marketing Means Humans First, Last and Always

Posted by Taylor Haney on Thu, Jul 31, 2014

We have had such a great month of guest blogs that we had to fit one more in for you! We are excited to wrap up this month with a post by Brian Babineau, SVP of Social Content Solutions at Arnold Worldwide. Brian provides insight into the importance of maintaining the human side of social media and marketing. 

Brian BabineauBrian Babineau is the SVP of Social Content Solutions at Arnold Worldwide.  His team at Arnold focuses on translating brands into stories that can be brought to life through content and social media to drive business results for clients such as Carnival Cruise Lines, Jack Daniel's, New Balance, Progressive and Tyson Foods.  Prior to Arnold, he spent 4 years at Digital Influence Group and 10 years at Digitas, focused on digital media, content marketing and social media activation.

There is a constant stream of discussion, digital and otherwise, about how brands and agencies are organizing to address a new digital, social and mobile reality in marketing. These discussions all take place under the umbrella of a variety of titles which all read like the magnetic poetry of familiar watchwords: big data, integrated marketing, integrated digital, integrated social, retargeting, data targeting, contextual targeting. And these are all important topics, but sometimes I fear that we, as marketers, fall into a very dangerous trap. We forget that consumers, the very people we are trying to connect our clients, our products and our brands to, don’t care at all about any of those words, topics or watchwords.

For example: I care about retargeting. I read about it, I want to use it effectively for my clients as a marketer, but as a consumer, when a digital store follows me around showing me the same pair of sneakers I already chose not to buy, I go crazy. And I care about personalization, might even be obsessed with finding ways to get it right for clients. But when my music service says that since I’ve listened to the Replacements and the Police recently, I might like to listen to Styx, I lose my mind a little bit.

And those examples, I think, are part of what happens in the trap. Marketers – and not just marketers, but technologists, creatives, media pros and content people, builders of things - forget that our focus shouldn’t be on channels, technologies and executions first, but on two simple things. Humans and actions.

Putting humans and actions first means understanding that consumers want human interactions. They want to see, touch, say to their devices, they want brands who they’ve interacted with to pay off that interaction by proving they know them. They want simple, and crisp ways to engage, and they want a clear reason to do so.

Putting humans and actions first means remembering that consumers are not obsessed with marketing channels and technologies, they are driven by their own needs, desires and agendas. They control their consumption, they fast forward or don’t, click or ignore, invite a brand in, or, as is mostly the case, don’t invite brands at all.

Putting humans and actions first means never forgetting to put some heart and soul into the core of what you are building, never forgetting that an idea, a human idea has to live there first. It means mining your data for more than conclusions, more than analysis, but for true insights that reflect people, individuals, not just demographics and audiences.

And finally, putting humans and actions first means being generous to your target consumers. Truly generous. Give them what they want, give them what they need, help them solve problems, and make it simple and intuitive for them to do so.

I love being a marketer in 2014. I love the technology, the access to data, the new platforms and new ways to talk to consumers. It’s a playground of the highest order for marketers. But humans and actions always come first – the people we are talking to, the things we want to do with them. If they don’t come first, they we are nothing more than a pair of sneakers wandering the digital landscape fruitlessly looking for attention from the same person over and over again.