Remembering to Treat Your Customers Like Humans

Today’s hit is tomorrow’s memory and companies need to do more and more in an attempt to stand out

Photo by Lukas on Unsplash

The churn. The never-ending churn of content is what the internet is made of. Today’s hit is tomorrow’s memory and companies need to do more and more in an attempt to stand out. With new extremes emerging to make more of an impact when compared to the last post, you have to ask what is missing, and more importantly, where it will end?

What is Missing?

With a million ways to share a skateboarding cat, how do you stand out? New businesses must feel as though they need an explosion to get attention. The temptation here is to make a bigger splash, but is it really what is needed? Is what we are actually missing the connection to our clients?

Turning into a cat for a zoom interview created a buzz online. It was topical, humorous and in the midst of everything else, a breath of fresh air. We have all experienced our zoom failures, from the screaming kids to the accidental unmuting and in extreme cases, shower nudity.

Zoom failures are something that we can all reflect on. It was with this in mind that a colleague of mine utilised the theme of zoom failures, through the now-iconic image of the lawyer changed into a cat for an email campaign. The results of which were rather astounding. It took the average open and click-through rates and doubled them.

A simple change, such as weaving in a professional message alongside a topical tail, resulted in a dramatic turnaround. It broke down the barrier between prospect and company. It was something that was humbling to see and made me look at the content in which I was distributing. Was I treating my potential clients as humans or bags of money? Whilst I am confident that it was not the latter, the change in approach did make me take a second look at my approach.

Sometimes we All Need to Take a Step Back

For me, marketing is about connecting with your customers and prospects. You want to offer them the information they need at the right time, in order to help them make a decision. It is not an exercise in coercion, or at least it should not be. Great marketing is about building rapport with your customer, showing them that you can be trusted.

In a dating scene you would not hit your would-be love with the same information, over and over again, and so how can you be surprised when potential customers unsubscribe from your communications? If you do not treat them as human beings, speak to them on a peer to peer level, why would they invest in you?

The use of a talking cat within an email communication was something that I considered to be unprofessional when I saw it. This was my initial reaction, but then I saw the stats and the sign-ups come in, which helped me to take a step back and rethink my strategy.

Sometimes we get so close to something that we cannot see the truth. Sometimes we need to change tactics and do something completely different. It does not matter what the output is, as long as the core values of what you are selling remain.

The Purple Cow

A book that I keep in my draw at work is the Purple Cow. It is a short book which looks at how crowded the advertising space is these days. It theorises that products are still important. In order to stand out, you need a Purple Cow style product.

When was the last time you saw a new type of loo roll that took the world by storm? I would imagine that you have not seen a radically altered loo roll, as the loo roll is well established, it doesn’t need to change. You could spend millions marketing and advertising a new loo roll but would it ever stand out? If it does not also sing you a lullaby, then probably not. This is where the Purple Cow comes in.

Purple Cow is a marketing concept developed by marketer and entrepreneur Seth Godin that states that companies must build things worth noticing right into their products or services. Godin claims that a product that isn’t in itself unique and somehow remarkable — like a Purple Cow — is unlikely to sell, no matter how well crafted its advertising. Purple Cow was Godin’s addition to the traditional five P’s of marketing — product, price, place, promotion and people.

Godin believes that creative advertising is not enough in a media landscape that has people tuning out. With people skipping ads on television and having more control over what they watch and when they watch it, Godin argues that now, more than ever, it is important to remember the importance of creating remarkable products.
What’s the Meaning Behind the Purple Cow Name?

Whilst I would normally agree without argument, I would add a caveat. Advertising and marketing are still important, in terms of delivering the right message at the right time. In my work based scenario, we changed our advertising at the right time, with the results being increased interest in what we were selling.

Products are important, as we need to seek out those rare beasts, known as the Purple Cows. They are elusive, but once we find them, we need an audience that is engaged, trusts what we are selling and considers themselves to be our equal.

For my part, I do not believe that I ever treated our customers disrespectfully but I did forget to treat them as human. As much as we all consider ourselves to be consummate professionals, there is always room for dancing, or in this case, a talking cat. Our lives are so full of them that to use this image endlessly would yield little in terms of results, but by using it at the right place and the right time, we can connect with our customers.

A Final Thought

Treating your customers as human beings is something that is easy to tell. If your emails result in small click-throughs, little in the way of response and the biggest metric you have is the open rate, then you need to change. In the same way that people change, your advertising needs to also. It needs to stay true to your core values but with attention spans dropping by the second, we all need to be reticent and remember who we are speaking to.

Our customers are human and need a good laugh every now and then. This is something that is more important than ever when considered in the context of 2021. The global pandemic has changed the world forever, but what will always remain is the desire to find the Purple Cow and the need to treat your customers like humans.

What I learned from this is that we always need to be on our toes. We need to constantly analyse and try new ways of reaching out, or prospects will get bored.

With more dancing monkies available than you can shake your fist at, you need to see what you can do to make an impact. Sometimes that is just being in the right place at the right time.

On a quest to develop my passion for writing and share my love of education, marketing, gaming and books.

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