Capture the Heart of your Customer in the Digital Age

The old phrase “No one likes to be sold to, but everyone likes to buy” remains just as true today as it was many years ago, when sales interactions consisted of door to door and department store salespeople.

How many times did you walk (or run) away from the sales person who you knew was just in it to sell you something on their agenda? Conversely, remember when you met a sales person who was able to show you the true value of a product, maybe even evoked a personal and emotional response from you; chances are you were happy to pull out your wallet and purchase.

In the digital age, it often seems that so much of that has changed and in a way it has. We are no longer getting as many door to door salesmen, and often we buy that coat we want online versus driving down to the mall.

But as consumers, we still experience the same emotions and thought process when we are shopping online. We cringe at the ads that appear in our inbox trying to “sell” us to buy their products. We get annoyed at the remarketing that we see on our social media feeds, after we have already decided not to buy that product we previously browsed. We can sniff out a salesy blog article a mile away when we feel that they don’t have our best interest at heart. Some companies simply miss the mark when it comes to marketing to their consumers in the digital age.

In a the recent CMO Survey (August 2017), CMO’s answered that “Being the voice of the customer” is the task that is most critical to the CMO role. That is a tall order in the digital age when customers are very diverse in their needs and desires. But there is one thing that connects all customers to the products they know and love; that is the emotion, the story, the “why” and the value that they bring to them.

There are some companies that have done a great job of this, Zillow is one great example with the “Finding Home” campaign which was inspired from real stories of Zillow users and employees.

AirBnB also does a great job of using personal stories from the AirBnB consumers to speak about their experiences while traveling.

With digital marketing trends coming and going so quickly, it is even more important to create that connection & community with your customers. When done right, social media, blogs, email marketing, & even paid ads are a great way to leverage that connection, solve everyday problems, and genuinely help connect customers to brands.

Some starting points are to look to the “painpoints” your customers experience:

  1. What are your customers’ problems and how does your product solve them?
    • Your customers need your product/service for one reason or another so tap into the “why” to understand where you fit in.
  1. What is the emotional response invoked by your product?
    • After you’ve understood the conflict, now consider the resolution. How does your product/service make someone FEEL? This is the part that many brands miss out on.
  1. Be authentic in your stories & humanize your products
    • Keep it real. Don’t over dramatize or dehumanize your customer. Speak your customers’ language and get to the heart of the matter.
  1. Visualize the solution
    • Regardless of the type of message, be sure to use clear visual descriptors to help your customers feel that they are a part of the story. Think about the five senses: Sight, Hearing, Taste, Touch, & Smell and strive to connect to your customers on a experiential level.
  1. Do not over “sell” the solution
    • You’re 90% there, but don’t scare them away with over the top selling messaging; rather a concise call to action and let them come to the solution themselves.

An authentic story should draw your customers in and not only make them want to buy but also belong to your community.

And as the wise Dale Carnegie said, “Become meaningful in your interactions and the path to success in any endeavor is simpler and far more sustainable.” – How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age

We’d love to hear from you with great storytelling examples. Please comment below to tell your story!