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Have you heard? The next big thing in customer relationship management is that there is no next big thing. According to Joseph Jaffe at CRMC 2014, now is the next big thing. It has already arrived.

Businesses operate in an age that provides unprecedented access to customers’ motivations, passions, desires, and behaviors. A lack of insight isn’t the challenge. Once those insights are pulled out, marketers have countless ways to communicate with the customers they’ve astutely studied. So why are many marketing and loyalty teams anxiously waiting for the next big thing? Why have they yet to realize that the next big thing is now?

It’s not the customer’s data points. It’s not the customer’s purchase patterns. It’s not the customer’s social networks. Marketers have lost focus of the most important piece of the marketing equation— the customer. It is time to make marketing human again.

Human marketing is responsive and connected.
It goes back to the basics of when businesses knew their customers on a personal level. When a customer walked in the front door, the clerk behind the counter had a bonafide conversation. He asked how the customer was doing, anticipated her needs, and most importantly told her “thank you” for her business.

via Fortune

via Fortune

Communicate with customers on a personal level and you elevate the experience. Customer service is a marketer’s most effective tool for creating human marketing experiences. Wegmans has already realized the next big thing. The grocery chain built a fiercely loyal customer base that is a strong advocate for the brand. How did they do it? They invested in human marketing. Well trained staff provides outstanding customer service. Wegmans humanized their customers’ experiences and built a loyalty foundation. They cracked the code on the next big thing and turned customer retention into new customer acquisition. Happy, well-served customers walk away from the positive Wegmans experience and send their friends and families back in droves.

People like to talk to people.
Get caught talking to your new pair of shoes or having a conversation with your favorite chocolate bar and you might get a few strange looks. Think about it. When people talk, it is normally to other people. Many brands are literally bringing the conversation face-to-face.

Take Allstate for example. Insurance is boring stuff. You don’t really want to talk about it for fun. If you are talking about it, chances are you just had some type of experience that headlines a bad day. Allstate humanized their marketing campaigns with the introduction of Mayhem. Mayhem is a human that talks to you and warns you of the dangers that predicate the need for insurance.  He gives Allstate customers a humanized experience, a person to follow on Twitter and friend on Facebook. Although, friends of Mayhem beware; you might be in for some unexpected surprises when you invite him into your social circles.

Instead of waiting for the next big thing, take advantage of your most important customer insight— the knowledge of what it means to be human. Remember that marketing campaigns are created by teams of people. That’s right, humans dream up and execute the data driven, social media funneled marketing campaigns. Bring human marketing to your approach and you can deliver powerful face-to-face customer experiences.

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